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Germany, Mexico play to 2-2 draw in Group C opener

Mexico v Germany: Men's Football - Olympics: Day -1

SALVADOR, BAHIA - AUGUST 04: Julian Brandt of Germany is chased by Michael Perez of Mexico during the Men’s Group C first round match between Mexico and Germany during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Arena Fonte Nova on August 4, 2016 in Salvador, Brazil. (Photo by Felipe Oliveira/Getty Images)

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Pegged by many as the two best sides in Group C, Germany and Mexico put forth an entertaining match befitting of the favorites label. And in the end, both teams left the field with a point apiece with the match ending in a 2-2 draw.

Oribe Peralta’s header in the 52nd minute gave Mexico a 1-0 lead, and the play opened up the always interesting conversation of man marking vs. zonal marking when defending corners. Germany went with the latter and the defenders lost track of Peralta, who wound up with a free header he took full advantage of just six yards away from goal. However Mexico’s advantage would be short-lived, as their decision to not adjust tactically resulted in more room for Germany to attack than they should have been afforded.

Arsenal midfielder Serge Gnabry served as the catalyst in the second half, and in the 58th minute his shot from the left wing tied the score at one goal apiece. Mexico didn’t tighten things up defensively once they grabbed the 1-0 lead, and Germany’s control of possession ultimately resulted in their first shot on target in the match to that point. Less than 20 minutes after that strike the Mexicans regained the lead through a Rodolfo Pizzaro tap-in in the 72nd minute. Pizarro benefited from an on-target header from Marco Bueno, whose effort resulted in German keeper Timo Horn making the save but surrendering a rebound right in front of goal.

But as was the case with Mexico’s first goal, their advantage was short-lived.

Germany pulled back even in the 78th minute through a Matthias Ginter header off of a corner, providing the final score of the match. Both teams will be back in action Sunday, with Mexico taking on Fiji and Germany facing South Korea. Neither team took a major step towards the knockout stage, but in getting a point from what will likely be their toughest match of the group stage both Germany and Mexico are in solid position to get through provided they do what’s expected of them in their final two matches.