Auftaktniederlage. It is a rather interesting word, one that has been constantly popping up all around social media. Anyone who knows anything about this year’s FIFA World Cup is connected to this German word. June 17th, 2018 was supposed to be a day for joyful celebration. Of course, the date refers to Germany’s first match of the World Cup, against Mexico. Germans and fans of the Die Mannschaft all over the world were anticipating the defending champions’ return to the global stage, where they were expected to take care of business against a weaker Mexican side. The result? Germany 0. Mexico 1. Yes, you read that correctly. Hirving Lozano drove the football into the back of the net in the 35th minute of the 90-minute fiasco, and he might as well have driven a knife into the hearts of the German players and their fans alike. Auftaktniederlage, or “defeat in the opening game”, hasn’t been used to describe Germany since 1982, when West Germany fell to Algeria 2-1 in the opener. An unification of Germany and 36 years later, the disappointment in Germany and the astonishment f everyone across the world is apparent.
However, this isn’t necessarily the start of the end of the mighty German dynasty that has taken over football. Humans have a very small attention span and tend to be prisoners of the moment, which is why articles on how Mexico is suddenly one of the favorites to win the Cup should be taken with a grain of salt. We are very quick to forget that Germany thrashed Brazil 7-1 in the FIFA World Cup semi-final and then triumphed over Lionel Messi, arguably the greatest football player to ever live, and his Argentinian side in the final in 2014. Granted that this German side is much different, and so are the aforementioned nations, it is still a very strong opponent for any team. With teams like Argentina (1-1 tie with Iceland), Brazil (1-1 tie with Switzerland), Portugal (3-3 tie with Spain), and Spain (3-3 tie with Portugal) all struggling, Germany has a decent shot at repeating this year.
However, this doesn’t mean that Mexico can’t celebrate. In fact, they have been celebrating a lot, maybe too much. Reports say that Mexico experienced an artificial earthquake after the Mexican victory, with the Mexico fans setting of the sensitive seismic sensors in place.
Germany shouldn’t be too concerned with this defeat, but Group F is suddenly a lot more interesting. The group is definitely not gift-wrapped for Germany to snatch up on the way to the quarter-finals. With Sweden and Mexico sharing the number 1 position in the group with 3 points, Germany needs to step it up a notch and get back to its winning ways before it’s too late and the El Tri are suddenly the team to beat in the group.
Written By: Ankit Shrivastava