MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) --
Mexico’s 1-0 win over Germany is probably the
biggest surprise of the 2018 World Cup finals so far, and has
left the reigning world champions with plenty of work to do if
they want to qualify for the tournament’s knockout stage.
The defeat came
following a disappointing set of results in warm-up games
leading up to the World Cup, with a draw at home to Spain,
defeats against Brazil and Austria and a narrow 2-1 win against
Saudi Arabia just 9 days before their loss against Mexico.
Speaking to the
press on Wednesday, Germany forward Thomas Muller said the team
had perhaps been guilty of not taking those results seriously
enough, expecting everything to fall into place once the
competition got under way in Russia.
“I think we took
things a bit too lightly after the warm-up games,” admitted
Muller. “Inside the squad, we were self-critical and said we
needed to do things, but maybe we thought that in a non-training
camp context when the World Cup came around we could raise our
game. And we haven’t been able to.”
Germany need to beat
Sweden in Sochi on Saturday, otherwise there is a very real
chance their future in Russia would no longer be in their own
hands, as a point for Mexico against South Korea would mean that
a draw in the final group game between Mexico and Sweden would
be enough to see both teams into the last 16.
“What is important
now is that we look ahead to the two major tasks lying ahead of
us in this group. The pressure is on us and we have to be
prepared to go the extra mile,” commented Muller.
Japan players expect tough
battle against Senegal following opening win
KAZAN Russia (Xinhua) --
Japanese players all expect a tough game against
their next opponents Senegal following the opening win.
Japan and Senegal
are now jointly leading Group H, after the Samurai Blue
unexpectedly beat 10-man Colombia 2-1 while Senegal enjoyed an
equally dramatic 2-1 victory over Poland. A further win would
give either side a huge advantage for progressing into the
“In my opinion, the
match against Senegal, which is also the second one for both
sides, is the most important one for Japan in the group phase,”
Eiji Kawashima, Japan’s goalkeeper and third-time World Cup
player, told reporters after an open training at the FC Rubin
First Team Training Ground.
He added that the
Senegalese have some unique qualities, including including
individual player’ abilities, which the Samurai Blue should be
“We’ve watched the
video footage of Senegal players. They are such a strong team,”
said 31-year-old defender Yuto Nagatomo.
“Their speed and
physical strength are something that I have expected, but (what
stood out) are their discipline and strong defense as a team,”
said the Galatasaray defender.
“They moved as a
connected unit, with every piece interlocking,” he added.
midfielder Hotaru Yamaguchi said that though they are still
enjoying the opening win, everyone now is preparing for the next
For him, what he is
focusing now is thinking of how to handle the fact that many
Senegal players are tall and fast
Japan is to play
Senegal on Sunday and Poland on June 28. According to FIFA,
Japan are ranked 61st in the world, well below
Senegal (27), Colombia (16) and Poland (8).