2018 FIFA World Cup – Group F Preview & Betting Tips

The following is a team-by-team preview of Group F in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Futures betting tips are also provided. The group consists of reigning World Cup champions Germany, along with Mexico, Sweden and South Korea.

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Other group previews:

 

Germany

Germany

  • FIFA World Ranking (as of June 7): 1
  • Rank by Elo rating (as of June 11): 2
  • Squad:
    • Coach: Joachim Löw
    • Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona), Kevin Trapp (Paris Saint-Germain)
    • Defenders: Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Matthias Ginter (Borussia Monchengladbach), Jonas Hector (FC Cologne), Mats Hummels (Bayern Munich), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Marvin Plattenhardt (Hertha Berlin), Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea), Niklas Sule (Bayern Munich)
    • Midfielders: Julian Brandt (Bayer Leverkusen), Julian Draxler (Paris Saint-Germain), Leon Goretzka (Schalke 04), Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City), Sami Khedira (Juventus), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund), Sebastian Rudy (Bayern Munich)
    • Forwards: Mario Gomez (VfB Stuttgart), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Timo Werner (RB Leipzig)
  • Best World Cup performance: Winners (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014)
  • 2014 World Cup: 1st in the group stage, went on to win the tournament
  • 2010 World Cup: 1st in the group stage, knocked out in the semi-finals
  • Qualifying: Won Group C with a 10-0-0 record in the UEFA Confederation qualification.
  • Bookmaker odds: (sourced from bet365)
    • Win group: 1.33
    • Reach knockouts: 1.083
    • Fail to reach knockouts: 9.00
    • Win World Cup: 5.50
  • Analyst predictions: :
    • Shaka Hilsop (ESPN): 1st in the group, runners up
    • Craig Burley (ESPN): 1st in the group, tournament winners
    • Paul Mariner (ESPN): 1st in the group, knocked out in the semi-finals
    • Tom Carnduff (SportingLife): 1st in the group, tournament winners
    • SBNATION: 1st in the group
    • AccuScore win group probability: 82.2%
    • AccuScore qualify from group probability: 95.6%
  • Good News:
    • Number one ranked team in the world.
    • Went went 10-0-0, scoring 43 goals and only conceding 4 during qualifying.
    • Won the 2017 Confederations Cup despite not sending a full-strength squad.
    • Have won four World Cups including the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
    • Germany have finished at least 3rd in each of the last four World Cups and are led by long-term head coach Joachim Löw, who has been at the helm since 2006 (with the same haircut!).
    • The squad features Thomas Muller, who was runner-up in both the Golden Ball and Golden Boot awards at the 2014 World Cup.
    • The squad is arguably more balanced than it was four years ago.
    • They have certainly been tested in recent months, with friendlies played against Brazil (0-2) and Spain (1-1).
    • Known for having good team spirit.
  • Bad News:
    • Lost to Brazil and Austria in recent friendlies and they didn’t look like world beaters in their 2-1 friendly win over Saudi Arabia, a team that just recently lost 0-3 to Peru. Germany may have in fact peaked in 2017.
    • Since 1962, no country has won back to back FIFA World Cups.
    • Number one goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has only played one match (a friendly against Austria) after a nine-month layoff due to injury.

 
Mexico

Mexico

  • FIFA World Ranking (as of June 7): 15
  • Rank by Elo rating (as of June 11): 18
  • Squad:
    • Coach: Juan Carlos Osorio (Colombia)
    • Goalkeepers: Guillermo Ochoa (Standard Liege), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca), Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul)
    • Defenders: Diego Reyes (Porto), Carlos Salcedo (Eintracht Frankfurt), Hector Moreno (Real Sociedad), Miguel Layun (Sevilla), Jesus Gallardo (Pumas), Hugo Ayala (Tigres UANL), Edson Alvarez (Club America)
    • Midfielders: Hector Herrera (Porto), Andres Guardado (Real Betis), Rafa Marquez (Atlas), Jonathan dos Santos (LA Galaxy), Marco Fabian (Eintracht Frankfurt), Giovani dos Santos (LA Galaxy)
    • Forwards: Javier Aquino (Tigres UANL), Jesus Corona (Porto), Raul Jimenez (Benfica), Oribe Peralta (Club America), Javier Hernandez (West Ham United), Carlos Vela (LAFC), Hirving Lozano (PSV Eindhoven)
  • Best World Cup performance: Quarter-finals (1970, 1986)
  • 2014 World Cup: 2nd in the group stage, knocked out in the Round of 16
  • 2010 World Cup: 2nd in the group stage, knocked out in the Round of 16
  • Qualifying: Won the CONCACAF Fifth Round with a 6-3-1 record.
  • Bookmaker odds: (sourced from bet365)
    • Win group: 6.00
    • Reach knockouts: 1.90
    • Fail to reach knockouts: 1.83
    • Win World Cup: 101.00
  • Analyst predictions: :
    • Shaka Hilsop (ESPN): 2nd in the group, knocked out in the Round of 16
    • Craig Burley (ESPN): 2nd in the group, knocked out in the Round of 16
    • Paul Mariner (ESPN): 2nd in the group, knocked out in the Round of 16
    • Tom Carnduff (SportingLife): 2nd in the group, knocked out in the Round of 16
    • SBNATION: 2nd in the group
    • AccuScore win group probability: 10.3%
    • AccuScore qualify from group probability: 53.4%
  • Good News:
    • Have a huge amount of World Cup experience and have made the Round of 16 in each of the last 6 World Cups.
    • Are higher ranked than Sweden or South Korea.
  • Bad News:
    • Lost to Croatia and Denmark and drew Wales 0-0 in pre-tournament friendlies.
    • While Mexico made the Round of 16 in each of the last six World Cups, they never advanced further than this round.
    • If Mexico finish 2nd in this group as predicted, they will likely face Brazil in the Round of 16.
    • Their first fixture is against Germany so if they lose and either Sweden or South Korea win their opening clash, Mexico could be playing catch up for the remaining two rounds.

 
Sweden

Sweden

  • FIFA World Ranking (as of June 7): 24
  • Rank by Elo rating (as of June 11): 20
  • Squad:
    • Coach: Janne Andersson
    • Goalkeepers: Robin Olsen (Copenhagen), Karl-Johan Johnsson (Guingamp), Kristoffer Nordfeldt (Swansea)
    • Defenders: Mikael Lustig (Celtic), Victor Lindelof (Manchester United), Andreas Granqvist (Krasnador), Martin Olsson (Swansea), Ludwig Augustinsson (Werder Bremen), Filip Helander, Emil Krafth (both Bologna), Pontus Jansson (Leeds United)
    • Midfielders: Sebastian Larsson (Hull), Albin Ekdal (Hamburg), Emil Forsberg (RB Leipzig), Gustav Svensson (Seattle Sounders), Oscar Hiljemark (Genoa), Viktor Claesson (Krasnador), Marcus Rohden (Crotone), Jimmy Durmaz (Toulouse)
    • Forwards: Marcus Berg (Al Ain), John Guidetti (Alaves), Ola Toivonen (Toulouse), Isaac Kiese Thelin (Waasland-Beveren)
  • Best World Cup performance: Runners-up (1958)
  • 2014 World Cup: Absent
  • 2010 World Cup: Absent
  • Qualifying: Runners up in Group A with a 6-1-3 record in the UEFA Confederation qualification. Defeated Italy 1-0 on aggregate in the UEFA Second Round playoffs.
  • Bookmaker odds: (sourced from bet365)
    • Win group: 7.50
    • Reach knockouts: 2.37
    • Fail to reach knockouts: 1.57
    • Win World Cup: 151.00
  • Analyst predictions: :
    • Shaka Hilsop (ESPN): 3rd in the group
    • Craig Burley (ESPN): 3rd in the group
    • Paul Mariner (ESPN): 3rd in the group
    • Tom Carnduff (SportingLife): 3rd in the group
    • SBNATION: 3rd in the group
    • AccuScore win group probability: 3.8%
    • AccuScore qualify from group probability: 25.5%
  • Good News:
    • Qualified from a tough pool that included France and the Netherlands. Sweden then beat Italy in a two-leg play-off.
    • Have kept 4 clean sheets in their last 6 fixtures.
    • Have progressed past the group stage in each of their last three World Cup appearances (1994, 2002, 2006).
  • Bad News:
    • First World Cup appearance since 2006, so lacking in finals experience in a Group where every other team featured in both the 2010 and 2014 tournaments.
    • Arguably lack the squad depth to go deep in the tournament, with this side considered to be weaker than previous Swedish World Cup squads.
    • A number of key squad members have been out of form or hadn’t received regular minutes for their respective clubs this season.
    • Winless in four friendlies in 2018 and failed to score in each of the last three games.
    • Their preparations have been overshadowed by speculation over whether Zlatan Ibrahimović should be brought back into the squad.

 
South Korea

South Korea

  • FIFA World Ranking (as of June 7): 57
  • Rank by Elo rating (as of June 11): 37
  • Squad:
    • Coach: Shin Tae-yong
    • Goalkeepers: Kim Seung-gyu (Vissel Kobe), Kim Jin-hyeon (Cerezo Osaka), Cho Hyun-woo (Daegu FC)
    • Defenders: Kim young-gwon (Guangzhou Evergrande), Jang Hyun-soo (FC Tokyo), Jung Seung-hyun (Sagan Tosu), Yun Yong-sun (Seongnam FC), Oh Ban-suk (Jeju United), Kim Min-woo (Sangju Sangmu), Park Joo-ho (Ulsan Hyundai), Hong Chul (Sangju Sangmu), Go Yo-han (FC Seoul), Lee Yong (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors)
    • Midfielders: Ki Sung-yueng (Swansea City), Jung Woo-young (Vissel Kobe), Ju Se-jong (Asan Mugunghwa FC), Koo Ja-cheol (FC Augsburg), Lee Jae-sung (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors), Lee Seung-woo (Hellas Verona), Moon Seon-min (Incheon United)
    • Forwards: Kim Shin-wook (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors), Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur), Hwang Hee-chan (FC Red Bull Salzburg)
  • Best World Cup performance: Fourth place (2002)
  • 2014 World Cup: 4th in the group stage
  • 2010 World Cup: 2nd in the group stage, knocked out in the Round of 16
  • Qualifying: Runners up in Group A with a 4-3-3 record in the AFC Third Round.
  • Bookmaker odds: (sourced from bet365)
    • Win group: 17.00
    • Reach knockouts: 4.50
    • Fail to reach knockouts: 1.16
    • Win World Cup: 751.00
  • Analyst predictions: :
    • Shaka Hilsop (ESPN): 4th in the group
    • Craig Burley (ESPN): 4th in the group
    • Paul Mariner (ESPN): 4th in the group
    • Tom Carnduff (SportingLife): 4th in the group
    • SBNATION: 4th in the group
    • AccuScore win group probability: 3.7%
    • AccuScore qualify from group probability: 25.5%
  • Good News:
    • Made the Round of 16 in two of the last four World Cups.
    • Winger / forward Son Heung-Min has impressed for Tottenham over the last few season, scoring 26 goals in the last two seasons. This includes 4 goals in 7 appearances in the UEFA Champions League this season.
    • Aren’t under much pressure due to muted expectations back home.
  • Bad News:
    • The clear minnow of the group, with a world ranking of 57.
    • Their goal difference of +1 after 10 games was the lowest of any of the five teams that qualified from the Asian confederation. To put that number into context, Australia were next worst with +5.
    • Went 1-1-4 in pre-tournament friendlies since March. The four defeats weren’t exactly to world-beaters: Northern Ireland, Poland, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Senegal.
    • Defence continues to be an issue. Four of their last six opponents scored at least 2 goals.
    • Set pieces are a weakness.

 

Betting tips:

Germany look too strong for the rest of this group, which features three opponents who aren’t in particularly strong form. If all goes according to the form guide, Germany would then play Switzerland in the Round of 16 and England in the quarter-finals, before clashing with Spain in the semi-finals. The Spain fixture could go either way, but Germany should be good enough to reach the semis.

Back Germany to win Group F at 1.38 (William Hill)

Back Germany to reach the semi-finals at 2.20 (Betfair)

 

Notes

 

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