As is the case with any professional sport, winning a back to back championship is incredibly tough. This is especially true in the World Cup. There are 4 years between each competition, which means that the team that won it last will have lost some of the key personnel that got them to the top of the heap the last time out. It was Germany who has crowned world champions in Brazil for 4 years, and while some familiar faces are gone, they are still totally stacked from top to bottom. The champions were drawn into Group F for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, and they certainly weren’t granted any favors. Group F is arguably the toughest of the 8, with Mexico, Sweden, and South Korea all bringing very talented squads to Russia. While this is a good group, you still have to like Germany to land on top. Tougher to predict is who will get the second spot and qualification to the knockout stages. Let’s get to making some predictions for Group F.
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Predicted Group F Winners – Germany
When trying to handicap the group stage, you take some time to look at the strengths and weaknesses of each team involved. In the case of the world champions, the strengths are blatantly obvious, while the weaknesses are almost impossible to find. This is a team that could play their fringe players and still makes a deep run at this tournament, just as they did in winning the Confederations Cup in Russia last summer. They have strength and depth at every position, which includes the goalkeeper, where captain Manuel Neuer, one of the best in the world, may not be ready to start. It’s a bit of an emotional loss for the Germans, but one that they will get over once the games begin.
Who Gets the Other Qualifying Spot in Group F – Mexico
Mexico always arrives at the World Cup with great expectations, and while they usually make it out of the group stage, it’s as far as they go. Moving into the knockout phase is no guarantee this time around, though, as they are in very tough in this game. The problem with Mexico is that they have a very talented group of players, but they never seem to be able to play as a cohesive unit. It doesn’t help that there seems to be a new coach in place every 6 months, always with the same result. It’s not going to be easy for Mexico, but I think they scrape through.
Who Misses Out in Group F – Sweden and South Korea
Sweden served notice to the other teams in this group that they cannot be ignored by beating Italy in the qualification playoff. They did not concede a goal in those two games and are going to be very tough to break down. Whether that have the finishing power up front remains to be seen. South Korea tend to favor a counterattacking role that is going to be fun to watch, but which may see them exposed by better teams. They will get in there and compete, but they are going to come up short.
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