On the face of it, the World Cup is going swimmingly for those two European footballing powerhouses, Germany and Spain. With a win under their belt after their opening fixtures, both teams look to be on target for a comfortable progression into the knock-out round of the competition.
Although they face one another on Wednesday in what should be the deciding match for the group winner, a final group match against South Africa for Germany and China for Spain would suggest that both of these sides would make it through to the Round of 16.
But scorelines can be deceiving. On Saturday, Germany struggled to a 1-0 win over China in a match that China will have been disappointed to have come out of without at least a point. As Michael Caley’s xG map of the game shows, while Germany maintained pressure throughout the game, they did not translate their control into good chances. China, on the other hand, although they gave up possession and looked to counter-attack their opponents, ended up running out with the best chances in the game. Read More