As Russia prepares to open the festivities for this year’s World Cup, we’re going to preview each group and discuss the exciting match ups to come. Let’s have a look at Group F.
Group F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea
Will Germany be able to repeat the success they saw at 2014 in Brazil? If their performance through qualification was any indication, it’s definitely a possibility. Germany looked unstoppable in their qualifying matches, conceding only four goals in 10 games. Offset that with 43 goals in their favour, and Germany has completed the best World Cup qualifying campaign by a European team in history. Under the direction of the incomparable Joachim Low, the Germans have amassed a number of victories as of late, with a strong showing in a number of international matches. The midfield is secure with the creativity and poise of Tony Kroos, while forward Thomas Muller has seen a return to form in recent competition. With Manuel Neuer returning in goal, the Germans have a good chance of becoming the first back to back champions in The World Cup since Brazil achieved the feat in 1958 and 1962.
Mexico was also able to win their qualifying group with ease, going undefeated in all but one of their matches. While they qualified for the tournament with 3 games yet to play, there have been many questions raised about the quality of their team, and whether or not they will be able to compete with the world’s best. West Ham’s Javier Hernandez makes his return up front and will be called upon to lead the offense ahead of a strong midfield, but a questionable back line. Mexico has appeared in the final 16 in the last six tournaments but cannot seem to surpass that point. Given Germany’s strength, Mexico will be in tough to win the group, but can still exit the group stages with strong play in their opening matches.
It will be hard for Sweden to accommodate for the gap left by international superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Following his retirement from international football. The prolific scorer leaves a noticeable gap, which has been filled by the playmaking abilities of midfielder Emil Forsberg. In an exciting qualification playoff which saw the Swedes eliminate Italy, Sweden showcased the progress which saw them enjoy a strong qualifying campaign. Their tune-up matches before the tournament resulted in a loss against Romania and draws against Denmark and Peru which left some question about the strength of this roster. Sweden has consistently made it out of the group stages but will be challenged to put up goals against the teams in this group.
South Korea struggled through qualification but managed to earn a berth in the tournament with only 4 victories in their journey. This team is very much centered around Tottenham Hotspurs’ Son Heung-min, as he will be called upon to provide the offensive spark. Son had a reasonably successful qualifying round, netting 7 goals for his country in his effort. While there have been rumblings of a change in management given the quality of the South Korean’s recent play, Shin Tae-Yong continues to prepare his team for competition, competing in a large number of international friendlies along the way. He will look to make a difference, as South Korea has not made it out of the group stages in six out of the last eight tournaments.