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World Cup Group F analysis

World Cup group F analysis: The challengers to reigning champs Germany

May 14, 2018 By Michelle Bonsu
Who's set to join reigning champs Germany in the round of 16? takes a look at Mexico, South Korea, and Sweden, who also make up the other members of Group F.

Brazil and Italy are the only two teams to have won back to back titles, and Germany will be hoping to join them this summer. Italy are out of the World Cup totally after failing to make it to this year's edition, and die Mannschaft will hope to defend their title. The thing is, once you've won it, everyone will be hoping to beat you, and there are 31 teams looking to do just that.

Here's a look at the three teams in Germany's group aiming to prevent die Mannschaft from progressing to the next round. Good luck to them, as they're certainly going to need it. Germany are the huge favorites not just to get through but to make it all the way to the final, as they cruised though qualifying without much fuss and clinched the Confederations Cup with largely a second-string squad. They're a fearsome opponent and really, it's going to take a monumental effort to stop them in Russia this summer.

Who's who in this group?


Star man: This is pretty tough. From the man between the posts all the way to the attack, Germany have world-class players in every position. For the sake of this short piece, though, we're going to go with Thomas Müller, who had a quiet EURO 2016 tournament but continues to show up at past World Cups and certainly will be expected to do the same at his third tournament at the ripe old age of 28.

He'll be supported, of course, by an all-star cast including faces like Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira, and more, making his quest to become Germany's all-time top World Cup goal-scorer that much more even realistic.

The Bayern ace has netted 38 goals so far for die Mannschaft, including ten World Cup goals - putting him already on course to eventually eclipse Miroslav Klose as Germany's all-time top goalscorer by the time he eventually ends his career

The coach: Joachim Löw, who's been in charge since 2006. Under his tenure, Germany have won a World Cup and their first ever Confederations Cup in 2017. Can he become the first manager to lead die Mannschaft to back-to-back titles this summer in Russia? He's already made history by becoming the first European manager to help a team win a title in the Americas by winning it in 2014.

Prior World Cup appearances: 18 (1934, 1938, 1954, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1970, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014)

Best finish: Champions (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014)

South Korea

Star man: Son Heung-min, who has had a good season for Tottenham will be the star player for Korea. Can they finally get over their bad spell at World Cups that has seen them win just two games since 2002?

Son Heung-min will be Korea's go-to man this summer as they hope to finally end their bad run at World Cups.

The coach: Shin Tae-yong has been in charge of the Taegeuk Warriors since June 2017. South Korea have had a frustrating record at World Cups since finishing in fourth place during the 2002 edition, during which they served as co-hosts with Japan. Since then, they've only won two games at these tournaments.

Prior World Cup appearances: 9 (1954, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014)

Best finish: Fourth place (2002)


Star man: Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, who's the nation's all time top goalscorer. He'll continue the family tradition of representing Mexico at World Cups as both his father and grandfather have pulled on the famous El Tri jersey at the 1986 and the 1954 World Cups respectively.

Chicharito will certainly hope to have a huge impact as Mexico aim to finally clear the quarter-finals hurdle that has proved to be a stumbling block for El Tri for decades

The coach: Juan Carlos Osorio. The Colombian has been at the helm of the Mexican national side since 2015 and suffered a rather humiliating 7-0 defeat to Chile back in 2016, which ended an impressive 22-match unbeaten streak for El Tri. However, since then, he rebounded to help guide the team through CONCACAF qualifiers without a hitch and booked their spot ahead of the USMNT to secure their spot at the upcoming tournament.

Prior World Cup appearances: 13 (1930, 1950, 1954, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1970, 1978, 1986, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014)

Best finish: Quarter-finals (1970, 1986)


Star man: Surprise, it's not Zlatan Ibrahimovic! That's despite his public pleas to be considered for a call-up after retiring after EURO 2016. He played no part in Sweden making it through a tough qualifying group and their surprise success against Italy in a two-legged play-off, and the team have made it clear they don't need him at the upcoming World Cup, either as they look to begin a new era. So, for now, it looks set to be Andreas Granqvist for the upcoming tournament...unless if they do change their mind between now and June, that is.

The coach: Janne Andersson, who notably led the Blågult past Italy in a two-legged play-off. He's been in charge since 2016 and has declined to recall Ibrahimovic to the squad, despite the LA FC striker's public appeals to be involved at this summer's tournament.

Prior World Cup appearances: 11 (1934, 1938, 1950, 1958, 1970, 1974, 1978, 1990, 1994, 2002, 2006)

Best finish: Runners-up (in 1958, when they hosted it)

Who's got their ticket punched to the round of 16

This is a very interesting group. Germany obviously are the heavy favorites not just to progress but to ultimately win it all. Meanwhile, Mexico and South Korea are also strong contenders for second place, while Sweden managed to get ahead of Holland and finish second in a tough group behind France. The Blågult also shocked Italy in a two-legged play-off and will be hoping to cause problems in Russia, so they shouldn't be underestimated.

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