WORLD CUP PREVIEW GROUP F
Germany – The world champions’ qualifying campaign couldn’t have gone any better. The Germans won all 10 matches scoring 43 goals and only conceding 4. Goals were shared around in qualifying with Thomas Muller and Sandro Wagner top scoring with 5 each.
Mexico – In the CONCACAF qualifiers, Mexico finished top of the final group stage with 21 points from 10 games. Qualification was assured after a 1-0 win over Panama in September 2017.
Sweden – After finishing 2nd to France in Group A of the European qualifiers, Sweden famously knocked out Italy in the play offs. The Swedes defeated the Azzurri 1-0 with a Johansson goal meaning Italy failed to qualify for the first time since 1958.
South Korea – Given the relatively easy group Korea were given to qualify, their 2nd place finish was not all that convincing. Only just finishing above of Syria, Uzbekistan and China, the Koreans would’ve hoped for a better performance.
Germany – Thomas Muller
2010 golden boot Muller comes into the World Cup as one of Germany’s most experienced players. His knack of being in the right place at the right time will come in handy for a Germany team who are joint favourites for the tournament.
Mexico – Jesus Corona
Porto winger Corona will be looking to bring pace and energy to what is an aging Mexico squad. Corona impressed in qualifying scoring 3 times and Mexico boss Juan Carlos Osorio will be hoping Corona can provide Mexico with the spark they will need to get through.
Sweden – Marcus Berg
With Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s omission from the squad, the goalscoring burden may well fall to experienced striker Marcus Berg. Berg scored an impressive 8 goals in qualifying and will be looking to add to his international tally here.
South Korea – Son Heung-Min
Without doubt Korea’s best player, Spurs forward Son will be vital to South Korea’s chances. Son was hugely impressive for Spurs this past season with some vital goals and providing good service to Harry Kane.
Germany always perform at World Cups. Rightly placed as one of the favourites to win the whole tournament, anything less than another final appearance will surely be a failure for Germany. I can see them bowing out to Spain in the Semis though.
2nd South Korea
Possibly a surprise pick for 2nd place given their less than impressive qualifying campaign. However, with a good team spirit and if Son Heung Min performs, 2nd place could be theirs for the taking. Don’t expect anything more than the 2nd round though as they will come up against Brazil.
Sweden probably have a better team than South Korea and are probably most peoples picks to finish 2nd. However, how will the Zlatan Ibrahimovic situation affect the Swedes? One bad performance could lead to fan and media unrest with Zlatan left at home.
I can see 2 things going against Mexico – firstly, their squad is the 3rd oldest in the competition. Secondly, their manager has named a different line up in every single one of the games he has managed for Mexico.
Germany, South Korea, Sweden, Mexico – 14/1
South Korea to qualify – 7/2
Thomas Muller group top goalscorer – 13/2
– Robert Shiers