World Cup: Everything you need to know about Group F
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Germany: Joachim Low’s powerhouse dominated this exact tournament four years ago and they are primed to do the same this time around. Ranked as the number one team in the world according to FIFA, Germany has the second best odds, behind Brazil, to win the competition at 5/1. Aside from four retirements from aging players, the squad has mostly stayed intact. The top returning players include goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, defenders Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels, midfielders Toni Kroos and Mesut Ozil, and forward Thomas Muller. This German core has the experience, professionalism, and skill to win back to back World Cups. The cherry on top for Die Mannschaft is the abundance of youthful talent supplanting the aging retirees. Timo Werner, Joshua Kimmich, and Leon Goretzka all played vital roles in the 2017 Confederations Cup and are expected to be integrated into Low’s side for this tournament as well. One notable omission from the squad has been promising winger Leroy Sane, who is fresh off winning the Premier League title and PFA Young Player of the Year for Manchester City. The 22-year-old has apparently fallen out of favour for Low and Sane’s attitude has been questioned by some since. Germany has eyes to become the first team since Brazil in 1958 and 1962 to win back-to-back World Cup trophies. It seems as though they are on a collision course towards the title. Mexico: El Tri arrive in Russia weeks after a scandal was reported involving at least eight members of the team partying for 24 hours with escorts. The Mexican Football Federation announced that it would not suspend any players for the incident; giving the reason that it was their ‘free day’. This scandal may distract Mexico from their toughest match, an opening World Cup match against Germany that will test them from the start. In the lead up to the World Cup, El Tri has not looked like a team ready to break their streak of six straight Round of 16 exits. They only scored one goal spread across three exhibition games against Wales, Scotland, and Denmark; drawing one and losing the other two. All eyes will be on Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez, their all-time leading goal scorer who will be participating in his third World Cup. Head coach Juan Carlos Osorio will be managing his first World Cup team and is under much scrutiny from the media and fans to finally move past the Round of 16. Mexico’s roster is as talented as it has even been, but their mental strength will be key in deciding if they can, once and for all, win a game in the Knockout Stages.
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