FIFA World Cup 2018 – Group F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea
2014 champions are here to repeat their success and well, it’s quite possible. If we look at their qualifiers, Germany was put in a group with Northern Ireland, Czech Republic, Norway, Azerbaijan and San Marino. It’s clear there was no real threat for them not to finish 1st and it’s not surprising Germany won all 10 games with a +39 goal difference. Due to lack of a better word, they were completely ruthless on their way to World Cup and if they can go into the tournament with the same approach, we can almost be certain we will see them in the finals. We already know Germany boasts one of the best rosters with tremendous depth, but this year we will also see some new young talents in Timo Werner and Leroy Sane. Arguably they have a better team compared to that in 2014, so expect them to be in the final 4. There is not much to say that has not already been said about Germany, even their previous results show a strong message.
Star player: Toni Kroos
Prediction: Germany will want to finish the group in the 1st spot, just so the can avoid meeting with Brazil, who will most likely finish 1st in group E.
Mexico topped their qualifying group and will be hoping to advance in top 16, although there are some doubts about that. There is no denying they have a few strong individuals but somehow they struggled to advance from top 16 for years now. It has become something like a curse for them, as we have not seen Mexico getting past that stage of the tournament since 1994. Looking at their qualifiers, Mexico topped their group which consisted of Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, USA and Trinidad & Tobago. With an overall record of 6-3-1, they were 5 points ahead of 2nd placed Panama. There are chances we can see them advancing from the group, but Mexico should not underestimate South Korea or Sweden. Neither of those 2 teams has strong individuals like Mexico but they tend to play more organized. If they do so and advance into top 16, they will need to defeat Brazil do advance further, so I guess we could say the “curse” of the fifth game is still alive.
Star player: Javier Hernández
Prediction: Sweden could be a threat to Mexico for the 2nd spot in the group, however, I lean towards Mexico to once more advance from the group.
They performed above all expectations in the qualifiers, finishing above the Netherlands as well as Italy. That is even more impressive when taking into consideration they managed to do so without their star player Zlatan Ibrahimović. Despite their superb results, the real picture is quite different from what it seems on the paper. Sweden winning goal against Italy was scored via a deflection from their only shot at the goal in both matches. There were no clear created chances by them which show their lack of strength in the offence. On the bright side, Sweden does have a solid defence who receive help from 2 defensive midfielders, but they will have to approach the tournament more offensively at one point if they want to achieve anything.
Star player: Emil Forsberg
Prediction: Without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sweden does not have enough offensive strength to qualify to the next stage of the tournament. They will probably finish 3rd in the group.
South Korea qualified for the World cup for 9th straight time. Despite the fact they never went too far in this tournament they can be happy to be given a shot and play against the best international teams in the world. Looking at their friendlies results, the results are very mixed. On one side, Korea managed to defeat Columbia (2:1) as well as managed to draw against Serbia (1:1), on the other side, they were defeated by Northern Ireland (2:1) and Poland (3:2). All in all, Korea plays as a well-organized team with incredible work rate which compensates for their lack of individual quality.
Star player: Heung Min Son
Prediction: Korea will have to play at their best to have a chance of advancing to top 16 although I don’t see it happening from what they have shown up to now.