FootyTool WC2018 overview: GROUP F (Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea)
They are second most successful team in the world with their 4 World Cup trophies. In the European qualifiers, Germany was the only team to go clean with 10-0-0 braced with an astonishing +39 in goal difference.
As the current title holder, there is pressure and their reputation is on the line to defend their title.
It is historically very difficult to do, and last time that happened was in 1958 and 1962 when Brazil won twice in a row. The squad is as very talented and anything less than a semifinal would be a disappointment.
Joachim Low is in charge and has an impressive record leading this German side. They average 2.49 goals per game under his time in charge and concede as little as 0.95 per game.
With such figures, you are likely to progress far in the tournament. Germany remains one of the favorites, and rightfully so.
To watch out for: Literally everybody on this team. But, forward Timo Werner is off to a hot start in his national team career with 7 goals in his first 10 appearances.
If he is given the confidence to start at the World Cup, we are talking about a potential golden boot winner.
Group F: Germany, Mexico, South Korea & Sweden.
The Mexicans confidently won their qualifying group with 5 points margin which solidified their place in the World Cup. Sure, one can question the quality of the teams that Mexico compete against, but with clashes against Costa Rica, Panama and USA it is not as easy as it looks.
They will compete in Russia under the guidance of the Colombian coach Juan Carlos Osorio who is approaching 50 matches in charge of Mexico, and have only lost 6 matches with the national team to date.
This is a group who are used to winning and that should not be underestimated. There are many quality players who have been in the World Cup before and various big scenes (Carlos Vela, Andres Guardado, Oribe Peralta, Giovanni Dos Santos to mention a few).
Mexico certainly feels like a mature team but without a clear superstar, but still can never be disregarded in their matches. On beforehand, Mexico feels like one of the most unpredictable teams in the competition.
To watch out for: Born in 1995, winger Hirving Lozano from PSV Eindhoven has already scored 7 goals for the national team since making his debut in early 2016 at the age of 20.
With his pace and ability to making things happen when having the ball, he is perhaps one of the hottest targets for scouts in the tournament. He already sits on a long contract until 2023 with PSV, but in case of a successful World Cup, big clubs might stand in line.
Life after Ibrahimovic is bright after all. Sweden qualified to World Cup through the playoffs, where they beat Italy 1-0 on aggregate.
Having also beaten France in the qualification phase, the Swedes can stand up tall against the best. The lack of individual quality is evident, but they are more of a unit than a one-man team.
Coach Janne Andersson has been given lot of credit for the qualification. He ended the thirst of the Swedes to see their team in World Cup again.
To watch out for: Emil Forsberg won the assist league in Bundesliga last season. He is the difference maker with his technique, creativity, and set-piece threat.
Look out for a stingy Swedish team who plays to their roots – tall center backs, clear the box and run. It has worked in Europe, but will it be enough in the World Cup?
We all remember 2002 and what a year it was for South Korea. They do have a new poster boy after the icon Ji Sung Park retired, and nowadays the people of South Korea are giving their hope to Heung-Min Son from Tottenham.
South Korea has traditionally always possessed great work ethics, but lacking the overall “killer instinct” in front of goal.
Coach Tae-Yong Shin is newly appointed since summer 2017 and was previously in charge of the national youth teams of South Korea.
He is yet winless in competitive matches in the position and remains the question mark in this team. In tough competition with Iran, South Korea were the runner-ups to Group A of the Asian qualifiers.
To watch out for: Finishing as runner-ups behind Iran in the Asian qualifiers, the South Korean team conceded 10 goals, which is as many as China (who finished second last).
There is work to be done, but keep an eye on interesting offensive players such as Red Bull Salzburg’s forward Hee-Chan Hwang, born 1996.