Soccer

Previews for all eight World Cup groups – Group F

We will miss Zlatan.

Here’s another addition of What The Sports’ World Cup preview in preparation for the first match of the tournament on June 14. In this edition, we will take a look at Group F.

Besides the definite winner of the group, Germany, Group F seems to be rather unpredictable. Germany will pick apart each team with the strict, regimented, brutally ruthless football that everyone hates them for. That’s a given. But with South Korea, Mexico and Sweden not possessing any clear match-winning talent, they will have to fight it out with each other for second place and a spot in the knockout rounds.

Germany

The German National Team could be the most unlikeable team in this World Cup. They won the Confederations Cup with basically their C team, they destroyed hometown Brazil in the 2014 World Cup, and they seem poised to do it to the rest of the world again this year.

Their team possesses absolutely no weaknesses. Manuel Neuer is a top-three goalkeeper, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng are among the world’s best centerbacks, a midfield possessing Ozil, Kroos and Goretzka, and a frontline including Marco Reus, Timo Werner and Draxler is completely unstoppable. If nothing catastrophic happens, it will be shocking to not see Germany in the final again this year.

Who to Watch

Marco Reus

I’m afraid to jinx this because the tournament hasn’t started and Marco Reus has the bone and muscle strength of a porcelain doll, but if he plays, I think he will be Germany’s best player. At full health, Reus is a top-five winger in the world and he could win Germany a few matches this tournament. ***BOLD PREDICTION ALERT*** Reus wins the Golden Boot for the 2018 World Cup.

They can win the group if…

The top 22 German players in the world don’t retire from professional football, they can win this group with relative ease. Their first team, second team and probably third team would be first place in this group. As long as they play classic German football, there isn’t much in the air with this group.

Most likely to get meme-d

Marco Reus. It is highly possible that he gets injured again, and his face after being injured for two consecutive World Cups would be extremely meme-able.

Mexico

Many Americans will be rooting for Mexico, unless they win, and then we will all be jealous. Ochoa was Mexico’s World Cup hero last year and he remains a solid goalkeeper. They have an talented and experienced defense, with veteran Rafa Márquez, Carlos Salcedo and Héctor Moreno of Real Sociedad. The Guardado-Herrera connection in the midfield is lethal, and the dos Santos brothers, along with Chicharito and Lozano in the frontline, could score plenty of goals.

Who to Watch

Giovani dos Santos. He is a class forward in the MLS with the ability to score big goals against good competition. Dos Santos has experience in La Liga, in high level international stages and has good chemistry with the rest of the national team. His connection with Chicharito will be vital in Mexico’s World Cup run.

They can win the group if…

Everyone plays to the best of their ability for the three games and almost every German professional football player vanishes.

Most likely to get meme-d…

Ochoa. That hair though.

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Sweden

A Zlatan-less Swedish national team – is there anything quite as boring? However, Sweden still possesses some big-name talent to make up for their missing man-bun and find World Cup success this year, such as Emil Forsberg and Victor Lindelof. Forsberg is an amazingly talented passer and dribbler with an eye for goal. Lindelof, who plays at Manchester United, is a young and although he lacks experience in the bigger stages, he still possesses the ability to hold down the Swedish backline. Some young talent boosts the squad, including Emil Krafth of Bologna, and the team is rounded out by a collection of Swedish talent that plays all over the globe.

Who to watch

Emil Krafth

Although all of Sweden’s hopes rest on the shoulders of Emil Forsberg, I believe the X-factor for this tournament lies in the young talent like Emil Krafth . He is a young, attacking fullback who can bolster this Swedish defense with Lindelof into a true, all-around threat.

They can win the group if…

If there is a mysterious disappearance of all German nationals in professional football (probably because of Putin), they can win the group. If members of the team other than Forsberg, such as Krafth, can pull their weight, Sweden has a chance to make it out of Group F.

Most likely to get meme-d

Victor Lindelof. He plays for United, making him an easy target.

South Korea

There really isn’t much to say about the South Korean national team other than talking about Son Heung-Min. He is the one and only player that can score consistently for this squad, and they better hope he is at his absolute best to not get blown out every game, let alone win. They do have a member of Crystal Palace in Lee Chung-yong, as well as a European football veteran in Park Joo-ho, but their chances of winning are really all placed on Son Heung-Min’s shoulders.

Who to watch

Park Joo-ho

Besides Son, Park Joo-ho will be vital if South Korea hopes to win a game or two in this group. He is a former Borussia Dortmund player, along with other European teams, and has a history of high-level club and country experience. They will need him to support Son’s efforts.

They can win the group if…

The starting XI for the German team repatriates to South Korea. Other than that, some world-class performances from Son, Park and Lee could help them out of this group.

Most likely to get meme-d

Not sure. Probably Son, because he’s the most overpowered player in the FIFA video games every year.

 

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