Germany will set out to lift consecutive World Cups since Brazil achieved just that in 1958 and 1962. Die Mannschaft were the only European side to qualify with a perfect record, winning all 10 of their matches, scoring 43 goals, a tally only Belgium could match. Incredibly, Germany have never failed to make it out of the group in the finals, in fact they have reached the semi-finals in seven of the last nine tournaments, going all the way to the final on five of those occasions. Joachim Low’s decision not to take Leroy Sane, a player with 15 Premier League assists last season, sums up their strength in depth on it’s own.
Expect…them to knock England out (most likely on penalties) en route to going all the way.
Key Player: Thomas Muller
Group Prediction: 1st
Stage of Elimination: Winners
Best Bet: To Win the 2018 World Cup (9/2)
Mexico breezed their CONCACAF qualification group, seeing off the likes of Costa Rica and United States to the top spot. Manager Juan Carlos Osorio has been in charge of the North Americans since October 2015 displaying some unorthodox methods which include the rotation of starting line-ups from match to match, which has led to him deploying a different starting eleven in every one of his 47 matches in charge. Mexico have been eliminated in the last 16 in their last six World Cup tournaments, and they could well make it seven in Russia.
Expect…history to repeat itself once again and see them crash out in the last 16.
Key Player: Javier Hernandez
Group Prediction: 2nd
Stage of Elimination: Last 16
Best Bet: Last 16 Elimination (2/1)
Sweden pulled off one of the results of UEFA qualification taking a 1-0 lead over Italy to Milan in their playoff match and managing to hold out for a 0-0 draw to reach Russia. The Swedes will be heading to the finals without their main man, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who netted a record 62 goals in 116 games for his country and has naturally left a huge void to be filled for manager Janne Andersson. However as qualifying proved, they can cope without the big man up top and have in fact shown signs of more cohesiveness as a squad since his retirement from the national team, but only time will tell if they can produce on the big stage.
Expect…Zlatan still to grab all the headlines despite not being in Russia.
Key Player: Emil Forsberg
Group Prediction: 3rd
Stage of Elimination: Group Stage
Best Bet: Not To Qualify from Group F (8/13)
Korea’s qualification was far from convincing. Defeats to Iran and China midway through their campaign followed by a 3-2 loss against Qatar, saw manager Uli Stielike given the boot and replaced by Shin Tae-yong. Two goal-less draws sneaked them over the line just ahead of Syria. However there were more than a few worrying signs along the way, lacking the ability to retain possession and being defensively suspect. They are not the worst team in Russia but have been handed a huge challenge in the group stage.
Expect…a group stage bow out for the seventh time in nine consecutive appearances.
Key Player: Son Heung-min
Group Prediction: 4th
Stage of Elimination: Group Stage
Best Bet: To Finish Bottom of Group F (5/6)
Group F Fixtures
June 17 | Germany v Mexico (16:00)
June 18 | Sweden v Korea Republic (13:00)
June 23 | Korea Republic v Mexico (16:00)
June 23 | Germany v Sweden (19:00)
June 27 | Korea Republic v Germany (15:00)
June 27 | Mexico v Sweden (15:00)
Group F Forecast
|Group F||Projected Points||Win Group||Group Qualification|