Does Germany and Argentina's Defeat in Qatar Change Anything?

Héctor Miranda
24 Nov 2022
17:21

The Qatar World Cup does not stop to surprise us. On the third matchday it was Argentina that caused the first surprise, on the fourth one it was the turn of Germany that was as dominant on the field as ineffective. The Germans seemed to have the game under control as they led 1-0, but the Japanese, who barely had the ball, eventually turned the tables.

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Hansi Flick's team was unable to reach the back of the net, even though they enjoyed plenty of possession of the ball, especially in the first half of the game, and even they had countless more shots to the goal than the Japanese. Its only goal was scored by Ilkay Gundogan from the penalty kick in the 32nd minute, but since that moment there was no way for the ball to go in.

Japan waited looking out, and when coach Hajime Moriyasu made the first changes, his team looked different and in just a few minutes it managed to reach the draw and turned the tables. Now, after the victory over the Germans, the dream of equaling their best-ever performance in World Cups and Rounds of 16, does not seem so far away.

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The defeat is a huge setback for one of the greatest teams in the history of soccer, but Germany still has two matches left to play in this group, and whether or not they qualify for the next round depends on them. If Germany wins in its two games, then it has a chance to reach the round of 16, and even to get to the top of the group. But of course, Germans have to win first.

Germany's next opponents will be Spain, the other big favorite in Group E, on November 27. If the four-time world champion wins, then it will still be dependent on its results and a victory over Costa Rica on December 1 would be enough. But that is what would happen only if they win, because one more defeat or even a draw could leave the team out of the Group stage.

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A first-round elimination would equal its worst-ever performance, the one in Russia 2018, where Germany debuted with setback of 1-0 against Mexico, thanks to Hirving Lozano's goal at the Luzhniki Stadium, although later Germany got recovered and beat Sweden 2-1, thanks to goals by Marco Reus and Tony Kroos, in the 95th minute, but finally dropped out after 2-0 loss to Korea.

Germany did not participate in the first edition of the World Cup in Uruguay 1930. In the second one, and after taking the third place in Italy 1934, it left the tournament in the first round of France 1938, drawing one match and losing another. Then, in 1950 Germany did not participate, but since then it has always participated, at least in the second round, with four titles and several Finals played.

The defeats of Germany and Argentina in their respective Qatar 2022 openers do not mean that they will abandon their chances of continuing beyond the Group stage, but they change the perception of their chances, especially because they lost to very inferior opponents, and this makes fans and analysts wonder what will happen when they stumble over the 'sharks', as José Mourinho would say.

Argentina can still move on to the next stage, and even to the top of the group. The team would only have to beat Mexico and Poland. However, its performance was weighed down by the way it introduced itself in its debut, and the way it played against the Saudi Arabia team, who dominated the most important parts of the game and did not allow Lionel Messi to be decisive on the field.

Bet on Germany on FIFA World Cup 2022
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In terms of Germany, if we look at other indicators beyond the goals - which are the ones that decide, of course- was superior to its opponent, but the team lacked the accuracy of its great players in front of the opponent's goal. In many opportunities Germans were close to the 2-0 and did not get it, because they lacked a ferocious striker, and also leadership. It's quite true that Jamal Musiala does incredible things and plays at a different pace, but if you don't have someone who scores goals, you're not going to get far in Qatar.

Kai Havertz is a great football player, but at least in the first game he was not the determining nine needed by a team that came to Qatar with the dream of becoming a five-time champion and equaling Brazil, and the game against Japan was a clear sign of that. The Germans, who were much taller than the Japanese, were also unable to take advantage of aerial passes and set pieces.

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Now, Germans will have to go against the tide and use the best of their soccer skills and traditions to avoid being eliminated again in the Group stage of a World Cup. If that happened, there would be speculations of a crisis in the national football team. And, in my personal opinion, I'm reluctant to believe it. Germany will continue being Germany in the soccer field and it will still be something to talk about in Qatar 2022. At least, I think so (although I'm not so sure about it with respect to Argentina).

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