Germany ended this 1-0 defeat by Mexico with six attacking players and three defenders on the pitch, with Manuel Neuer wandering about flapping his arms in the Mexico penalty area, while on the touchline Jogi Löw capered and wheeled, ice-white jogging shoes peddling the air in frustration.
The contrast with the start was profound. In the opening 40 minutes Löw’s team had been ambushed here, the world champions run into a state of breathless trauma by a thrillingly vibrant Mexico attack.
With a quartet of forward-facing players in the starting XI Germany had begun by leaving huge open spaces at the back of midfield, into which Mexico’s three-man attack poured like a green-shirted piranha swarm. This was a champion team out of kilter, stung by what was arguably an act of disrespect to their opponents, a failure to appreciate their threat and the fine planning of Carlos Osorio, and never really able to regain its balance.
What a game this was in those early minutes. Germany were also agreeably fluid, with a fine natural width. But they also looked like a champion team short-handed heading back towards their own goal. In the event they lacked a proper midfield bolt, with Toni Kroos and Sami Khedira huffing around in pursuit of the whizzing green machine.
The centre-backs looked flustered, left to deal with three on two as Mexico broke. Löw’s 4-2-3-1 seemed antiquated and creaky, with the old World Cup shark Thomas Müller flat-footed in a wide position.