This Friday the Mexican national team knew what opponents it would face in the group stage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. El Tri did not get the most favorable draw, placed in Group F of the competition with Germany, Sweden and South Korea. The group has been already dubbed by some as the group of death, here is a closer look at Mexico’s opponents in Group F.
The 2014 FIFA World Cup champions need no introduction and will be Mexico’s biggest threat in this group stage. Die Mannschaft are the favorites to finish first in Group F and are one of the favorites to obtain a second consecutive World Cup title. The Central European side finished first in Group C of the UEFA World Cup qualifiers with 30 points and a massive goal differential of 39. Joachim Low has world class players on his roster that play in world class leagues like Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil and Thomas Muller.
There is no question that Germany is on a much higher tier than Mexico as it was shown in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. Germany’s B team walked past Mexico in the semifinals of the competition with a 4-1 win. Mexico will start its road in the 2018 FIFA World Cup against Germany on Sunday, June 17 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
There seem to be no weak links in this Group F of the tournament but South Korea seems to be the most manageable team for Mexico. The Reds were not overly impressive in the AFC World Cup qualifiers, finishing second in Group A with 15 points. South Korea has proven to be an inconsistent team lately with recent results in international friendlies.
The Red Devils lost 4-2 against Russia and 3-1 against Morocco but had an impressive 2-1 win against Colombia. Colombia is a similar team to Mexico and this result could indicate that El Tri could have a tough game against the Asian side. Shin Tae-Yong does count with several talented players on his squad like Swansea’s Ki Sung-Yeung and more notably Tottenham’s Heung-Min Son. Son has proven to be a lethal player going forward and enjoyed a spectacular 16-17 premier league campaign with 14 goals. The 25-year-old is undoubtedly South Korea’s most talented player and could be a problem with Mexico’s seemingly inconsistent back line. The CONCACAF team play the Asian side on Saturday, June 23 at the Rostov Arena in Rostov-on-Don.
Sweden finished second in Group A of the UEFA World Cup qualifiers with 19 points and are now infamous for being the team that kept Gianluigi Buffon and Italy out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The Nordic side achieved a 1-0 win on aggregate in two games against The Azzurri in a playoff matchup. The Blue-Yellow does have a talented squad with players like Manchester United’s Victor Lindelöf, Krasnodar’s Andreas Granqvist, Hull City’s Sebastian Larsson and most notably Emil Forsberg.
The Red Bull Leipzig player finished the UEFA World Cup qualifiers with four goals and is clearly the best playmaker on the Swedish team. Of course, arguably the best Swedish footballer of all time Zlatan Ibrahimovic could potentially come out of international retirement to play in this installment of the FIFA World Cup. It does seem unlikely but Sweden could use him as the 36-year-old can still be a clinical finisher and a very impactful player. Mexico will play its last game in the group stage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Wednesday, June 27 against Sweden at the Central Stadium in Yekaterinburg.