2018 World Cup Group F Future Odds and Predictions
There is one group in the World Cup that has a great favorite, as Germany is expected to dominate Group F. Neither Mexico, not Sweden and surely not South Korea can challenge the German machine for the top spot. Mexico and Sweden are expected to battle for the 2nd spot, but South Korea can maybe pull an upset here. The Mexicans have the experience to make this work, while Sweden has an up-and-coming generation of players. South Korea does have some concentrated talent in three players and will try to play spoiler here.
Germany were dominant in yet another World Cup qualifying phase, as they steamrolled through all 10 matches to finish with a perfect 30 points. However, it was not a very competitive group with Northern Ireland, Czech Republic, Azerbaijan, Norway and San Marino. In any case, the Germans scored 43 goals in that stage, while conceding just four in the process. They are a great name in the soccer world, having won the World Cup four times so far (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014). They truly have no weaknesses in their roster, with top talent in every line. The only thing they might be missing is a heavy-duty forward, as they haven’t had a lethal forward since Miroslav Klose retired. Coach Lowe does have a lot of options to man the attack, with RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner being the most likely to start. Their star player is without a doubt Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil, who is a really smart player who can slice the defenses with his passes. Moreover, Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos, Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer among many more. They really have a pretty full roster with a lot of options in the bench, and a coach that is not afraid to mix things up. The Germans will look to become the 2nd team to win back-to-back World Cups, something that hasn’t happened in half a century.
El Tri has been really consistent participants in the World Cup, as this will be their seventh consecutive time. However, they have been somewhat unlucky in the competition, as they have been eliminated in the round of 16 all previous six times. They usually go through the qualifying stage somewhat comfortably, and that's precisely what they did this time around when they finished at the top of the Hexagonal. Mexico has an emblematic defender in their squad, as Rafa Marquez will be only the third player to have played in five World Cups. Their defense will be locked down by the also experienced Guillermo Ochoa, while Andres Guardado will create from the midfield. However, it is in the offense that the Mexicans will have a lot of options. Carlos Vela has rejuvenated his career with MLS side LAFC and will probably start, along with West Ham’s Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez. They also have Hirving Lozano who won the Dutch title with PSV, along with Club America veteran Oribe Peralta. Mexico has gone as far as the quarter-finals in the competition (1970, 1986), but they will undoubtedly focus on getting past the cursed round of 16.
Sweden missed the previous two editions of the World Cup, but this time they did it and without Zlatan Ibrahimovic. They finished at the 2nd spot of their respective group behind France and got paired with Italy in the playoffs. Sweden went on to pull a massive upset against one of the greatest teams in history, as they won the first leg at home by 0-1. They easily held on for a goalless draw in Italy and proved that miracles do happen. Sweden doesn't entirely rely on a single player anymore, as the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic might have done some good. You can't find players of his caliber that easily, and probably never will, but it seems that Sweden has found new ways. They will have to defeat South Korea in the premiere in order to have hopes to qualify. However, the most crucial match will be their last against Mexico, that will probably shape the group. They do have a couple of star players in RB Leipzig's Emil Forsberg and Al Ain's Marcus Berg and are a really tight unit overall.
SOUTH KOREA (+2000)
South Korea is not new to World Cups, as this is their tenth time in the major competition. Moreover, they had reached as far as the semi-finals in 2002 when they were hosting the tournament. They are one of the strongest teams in Asia and are on a record-breaking ninth consecutive run in the World Cup. However, South Korea didn't have an easy time in the Qualifiers as they finished at the 2nd spot of Group B behind Iran. They weren't very convincing in their performances and played with minimal risk in their last two matches against Iran and Uzbekistan. Their roster consists mainly of players who play in the domestic league, but they do have a couple of star-players who play in the Premier League. They will be spear-headed by Son Heung-Min who was terrific with Tottenham this season, while Swansea's Ki Sung-Yeung will also provide solutions. The South Koreans are a pacey side, with a lot of players that can cause troubles to slower defenses. They will have to use Son as much as possible, as the Tottenham forward can easily play in multiple positions. However, if opposing defenses contain him, there are limited options.
2018 World Cup Group F Predictions
Germany is almost certainly going to top this group, but there is no need to bet on those minimal odds. The burning question is who finishes second, as Sweden just might be able to hold off the Mexicans. The pivotal match of the group is between Mexico and Sweden and will pretty much determine who will follow Germany to the next round. The quick South Koreans might threaten Mexico's defense, so I will take my chances with picking Sweden to finish 2nd (+210). I will also pick Thomas Muller to be the leading scorer for Germany (+350), as he has scored ten goals in his previous two World Cups.
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