Joachim Loew defiant as Germany face World Cup crisis 

Joachim Loew is facing the biggest crisis of his 12-year reign as Germany coach after the holders slipped to a shock defeat against Mexico in their World Cup opener in Russia.

Loew has been heavily criticised in Germany for his tactics and keeping faith in under-performing players, especially Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil.

He got his tactics wrong in Moscow, telling his players they would be pressed high up, only for Mexico to counter-attack from deep at speed.

When their gameplan was shredded, none of Loew's senior players could stem the Mexico attacks or fix the disarray in defence.

Now the Germans must beat Sweden in Sochi on Saturday to get their Russia 2018 campaign back on track.

The fear in Germany is that the national team will not qualify for the knockout stages of a major tournament for the first time since the Euro 2004 finals in Portugal.

The last time they failed to progress beyond the first round of the World Cup was in 1938.

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