World Cup Newsletter 2022: How did Germany lose to Japan? why USMNT Gio Reyna has to start against England

You wanted more World Cup excitement? You have it. I’m Roger Gonzalez and welcome to the Thanksgiving Eve edition of the Golazo Starting XI Newsletter. There’s a lot to do today, including Japan’s impressive win over Germany and a big decision for US coach Gregg Berhalter.

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⚽ The redirect

How did Germany lose?

A day after Argentina were somehow beaten by massive outsiders Saudi Arabia, four-time champions Germany joined the club in Qatar. The Germans laid an egg in 2018 and this time with Hansi Flick were considered one of the potential title favorites. Similar to the Argentines, the Germans conceded two goals in the second half and lost 2-1. The two goals for the Japanese came in the last 15 minutes in an epic, unforeseen comeback.

How did Germany let this escape?

The Germans made a lot of mistakes here. Questionable decisions and poor defense were the difference in this game and now the mighty Germans could be just one bad result away from going home. Super substitutes Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano each scored within nine minutes to give Japan their biggest World Cup win ever.

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our buddy Jimmy Conrad pointed out, Flick’s team selection proved horrendous. It all starts with understanding that Japan has pace and countering that with agile players is a must. Flick will follow the decision to use Niklas Sule, a really slow player, as right-back. He has the speed of a razor scooter used by a four-year-old and he was clearly partly to blame for both goals conceded by Germany.

So what else did he do wrong?

  • The back line didn’t stay in shape. When you’re watching TV you want your defense to be in an organized vertical line at all times to have an advantage when it comes to catching the other team offside. This is how the Saudis managed to win against the Argentines.
  • He was on the corner of the penalty area for that first goal, which is understandable considering he was at right back. But then what happened next? Sule twisted like a pretzel and didn’t get enough pressure, resulting in a free kick saved by Manuel Neuer. A loose ball falls in the heart of the box and is pocketed by the underdogs. Just too easy. He needs to come inside and push this attacker wide, knowing that a cross is a less dangerous opportunity to contend with.
  • On the second goal he was so deep and didn’t provide cover, walking away from the ball instead of trying to double down on the attacker. He didn’t have anyone else to worry about, so why not walk up to the ball?
  • There was another case where Japan was overplayed and the only reason the game was allowed to happen was because Sule was five yards behind the rest of the defensecontinues to play the bishop.

He has to be on the bench and Lukas Klostermann has to take his place if he is healthy. If not, it’s better not to play against anyone there. Probably the difference between that and Sule will not be noticeable.

On a positive note, the German attack wasn’t that bad after all – they had the chances they needed to win. Germany finished the game with 26 shots, 14 more than Japan, with nine on target and they had 74% possession. But as is often the case in the sport, it comes down to the most efficient team in front of goal being able to capitalize on their golden chances. On that day, it was Samurai Blue that shocked the world.

🔗 Midfield link game

Reyna has to start for USMNT against England

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The biggest question that arose after the United States’ 1-1 draw with Wales (besides why the hell did Walker Zimmerman play Gareth Bale like that?) was Where on earth was Gio Reyna? The team’s most talented player didn’t play at all and sat on the bench for 90 minutes. Look, he seemed like a logical player to use, knowing his creativity and ability to run on goal could have resulted in a couple of decent second-half chances. The US attack was pretty terrible outside of the first 30 minutes or so. Gregg Berhalter said after the game that the team checked him out for sore muscles, with the player saying he was 100%. Berhalter added he will be available for England and he must be. He’s a must against the Three Lions.

The United States despite a strong first half and 59% ball possession, only recorded a shot on goal throughout the game. That’s just not good enough. Reyna, on the other hand, has already scored as many goals for Borussia Dortmund (two) this season as he did for the German club all of last season.

USA can’t play 45 minutes against a title contender and they need someone who can offer a bit of individual brilliance to turn a game around. Reyna will be particularly motivated given his nation of birth – he was born in Sunderland – and he seems a logical choice to replace someone like Weston McKennie or Yunus Musah as a back-up. It remains to be seen if Berhalter will tinker with the attacking trio of Christian Pulisic, Josh Sargent and Tim Weah, but having scored just one goal he may have to. My job would be to get Reyna to Weah for about an hour. You can’t trade him for Pulisic and USA really need a striker. Or could Berhalter mix things up and go with a wrong nine? I can’t imagine him doing that.

In the end the pressure is high after failing against Wales. Taking a point from the game against England would be huge and USA need their most talented player to have a chance.

Listen and follow below In Soccer We Trust: A CBS Sports Soccer Podcast where your three favorite former USMNT players cover everything you want to know about the United States Men’s National Team during the World Cup in Qatar.

Let’s go to some links:

💰 The back lines

best bets

Let’s pick some World Cup games!

All odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.

  • Uruguay vs. South Korea, Thursday, 8 p.m. ET
    💰 THE PICK: Both teams to score (+115). Uruguay’s defense is aging and South Korea’s star Heung-min Son can take advantage of it. I’m not worried about Uruguay scoring with all their attacking talent, but this isn’t the same defense that dominated over a decade ago. The South Americans have averaged more than one goal per game in World Cup qualifying, including 11 in four games last year.
  • Brazil vs. Serbia, Thursday, 2 p.m. ET
    💰 THE CHOICE: Brazil -1.5 (+130). Brazil are the most talented team in the tournament and I can’t imagine them not scoring three goals against Serbia. That’s why I like the value they win by two goals with Neymar leading the charge. Serbia have talent in attack but Brazil should be able to control the ball and dictate the game.


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