World Cup Preview: South Korea v Germany

Who? South Korea - Germany
Where? Kazan Arena, Kazan
When? June 27, 16:00 (CET local time)

South Korea

South Korea never was a real contender for qualifying to the next round. Yet, the unusual opening of the group made South Korea to be a in the list of the potential qualifiers in specific combination of results. The first thing they need to do is to defeat Germany.

South Korea played against Germany twice at the World Cup in the past, but it never was an easy task. In 1994, Germany led 3:0 by the 37th minute and the Koreans managed to score twice lately to a 3:2 defeat. Eight years late, in front of their local fans in Seoul, Germany won again 1:0 in the semi finals with a goal by Michael Ballack.

The main question among the Koreans is whether Son Heung-Min can lead the team for a better final match. Even if South Korea wouldn't win this match, they at least looking for a decent performance after their first two games. The hope is that Son will be in good shape, especially after his goal against Mexico.

This match may be South Korea last match in this competition. Without points and after scoring a single goal, South Korea want to prove that they have what it need in order to be a good opponent against Germany. Will it happen?


There is no words that can explain the importance of Toni Kroos goal against Sweden. Within few second, Germany changed their disastrous campaign opening for a hope to the next matches. Their match against South Korea will be their chance to make a first check for it.

During the last days, Germany spoke about anything but football. Unusually, one of the most professional teams in the world, find themselves dealing with controversies and discipline problems of the players. Joachim Löw is experienced enough and managed to handle it, but it was a sign for an upcoming failure.

After they defeated Sweden, Germany is facing much easier opponent as South Korea. Germany is holding great record against Asian teams. Except from the two wins against South Korea, they won each of their other four clashes against teams from this continent. Moreover, the goal difference in this matches is enourmous – 23 goals scored and only 3 goals against.

Germany have another mission, but they need to wait for other results. The Germans know that finishing in they can find an early match against Brazil, maybe even in the round of 16. As group F will be in the early hour of the day, Germany can't even make a calculations that will help them to avoid such meeting.

In any case, Germany wants to prove that they are real contenders to win the title once again. If they will fail against South Korea, it will be a massive failure. Qualifying to the knockout will be the moment for them to show their abilities and their power, no matter who will be against them.

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World Cup Preview: Germany v Sweden

Who? Germany - Sweden
Where? Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi
When? June 23, 20:00 (CET local time)


Germany is facing a new unusual situation, losing in the group stage. Since 1990, Germany lost only once in the group stage out of 21 games. Now, after they dropped three points, the world champions need to be focused in order to get back to the race for the knockout stage.

Once upon a time, Germany and Sweden met three times in the World Cup, and in two out of these three matches, Germany won. The Germans hold a long streak of undefeated games against Sweden. They won their last 11 games, as the last Swedish win was in 1978. The last official match that Germany has lost to Sweden was in the 1958 World Cup.

If there is something that makes the German journey in Russia more complicated, it is the recent political controversy of Mesut Özil and Ilkay Gündoğan. The two German players met a month ago with the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and caused a lot of criticism among former players and the fans. Before the match against Mexico, while the German lineup was announced in the stadium, the fans shouted and booed in the moment that Özil's name was heard.

After France in 2002, Italy in 2010 and Spain in 2014, Germany doesn't want to be part of the recent tradition of World Champions with early eliminations. For Löw and his players, nothing but winning against Sweden is acceptable.


After the match against South Korea, Sweden believe that they have what it needs in order to qualify for the next stage. In their last three World Cup appearance they didn't fail to qualify through the group stage, and they wouldn't like to break this streak.

Sweden now will have to face few more records in their path for winning vs Germany. For example, Sweden didn't win two group stage matches in one World Cup since 1958. Moreover, Sweden failed to defeat an European opponent in the World Cup since the third place match in 1994 against Bulgaria. Since this match, they drew twice against England and lost to Germany in 2006, as said before.

The last match made Andreas Granqvist the key player of the team. Even though he was the one to score against South Korea, his main role against Germany is to prevent any conceding. Granqvist enjoys now his last travel in Russia after five years of playing in Krasnodar, before he will return to play for Helsingborg.

Sweden is dreaming about an upset against Germany. If it will happen, Sweden can find themselves in the interesting situation of being one step from knockout, or maybe clinching it, depending on the other results. For Sweden, it will be an amazing achievement.

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World Cup Preview: Germany v Mexico

Who? Germany - Mexico
Where? Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
When? June 17, 17:00 (CET local time)

Germany (Yossi Medina)

The reigning World Cup champions is starting their way to win the title once again. It will be hard as long as the history is against them. Only two teams managed to win the title twice in a row, Italy (1934 and 1938) and Brazil (1958 and 1962). More than 50 years no team managed to keep the title for four more years, but Germany believe in their ability to do that.

If we are dealing with records, there is one guy that want to break them, Joachim Löw. In his third World Cup as Germany manager, he can make history with being the coach with the highest number of World Cup wins. The current record set by another Germany coach, Helmut Schön, who made 16 World Cup wins. In order to equal that record, Löw need to win five more matches and Mexico will be his first step.

Another possible record for Germany, or at least a possibility to be close to such one, is the goalscoring record of Miroslav Klose. With 10 goals in his two previous World Cup, Thomas Müller is wishing to make another remarkable tournament. If he want to equal Klose's record, he will aim to score six more goals, one more than the amount he scored in 2010 and 2014 World Cups.

Before speaking of reaching the highest heights, Germany is need to pass thorugh their first match against Mexico, which would not be an easy task. Neverthelss, Germany showed us more than once that they can make anything easier, reminding their previous World Cup opening match, while they thrashed Portugal 4:0. Will Mexico challenge them? It all depends on the ability of the Gemrans.

Mexico (Meir Lozowick)

From the moment that Maradona held in his hands the names in the drawing of the World cup, it’s was clear that Mexico got a very complicated draw.  Not only having tough opponents in the group, but also the order of the games itself, having to play against the current champions Germany and what could be the battle for the 2nd place vs Sweden on the third game. The first immediate conclusion is that the first game against Germany is the most important game. If Mexico could get a very surprising positive result (Even a draw), they will have a huge advantage on the qualification race from group F. Easier said than done. Mexico has never won against Germany in an official game, when the last game between the two teams finished with a 4:1 win for the Germans in last year's Confederations Cup semi-final.

However, on the Mexican side, the optimism is reigning. The players obviously know what they are up front, but according to their declarations, we should expect to an interesting and surprising outcome. Carlos Salcedo, who plays in Germany with Eintracht Frankfurt declared that “although they are one of the best teams, they don’t have a player like Messi, Ronaldo or Neymar”. He also said that the unity of the players in Mexico is not less than the German one. Andres Guardado with a similar statement, claimed that “as a team, we don’t fall from any other, include Germany”.

 The reality is that Mexico would be very satisfied if they could achieve a draw. It will put the two other teams in the group on pressure to gain something against Germany. In a second thought, who said that first game against Germany is a bad draw?

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World Cup Nostalgics: Best 5 Repeats at the Group Stage

The World Cup always brings us the feelings of great memories. Many games during the group stage will remind an old-fashioned World Cup clashes with the same teams. Here are some of these best repeats.

Sweden - Germany
1958 Semifinals 3:1 / 2018 Group F

In 1958, Germany was the reigning World Champions and they were two wins away from winning the title once again. 1:0 lead by Germany didn't made any change for the hosts feeling. Sweden managed to equalize during the first half and scored twice in the last with goals of Gunnar Gren and Kurt Hamrin. Sweden made history and qualified for their only final in the history. Can Sweden upset Germany once again?

Morocco - Portugal
1986 Group Stage 3:1 / 2018 Group B

In hot summer day at Guadalajara, Morocco and Portugal met while they knew that the winner will qualify for the next stage. Portugal were the favourites, but they didn't believe that Morocco will be in one of its best matches ever. Abderrazak Khairi scored a brace in the first half and Abdelkrim Merry added one more. The Atlas Lions won and Portugal found themselves being eliminated too early.
Portugal are once again on the lead, but will it be enough to defeat Morocco?

Brazil - Costa Rica
1990 Group Stage 1:0 / 2018 Group E

Costa Rica World Cup debut was a memorable campaign with wins against Scotland and Sweden and reaching the knockout stage. Nevertherless, one of its well known performances was actually at the defeat 0:1 against Brazil. In this match Costa Rica played with an unusual black and white shirts. The local crowd in the mythical Delle Alpi in Turin thought it a gesture for the local team, Juevetus, and it was enough to make Costa Rica as one of the most beloved team in the tournament.
May Costa Rica have another performance that will be enough to get support?

Argentina - Nigera
1994 Group Stage 2:1 / 2018 Group D

Argentina and Nigeria will meet for the fifth time in World Cup group stage, but none of the previous matches was as amazing as the first meeting in 1994. An early lead with a goal scored by Samson Siasia made the Argentinian a bit shockes. Only Claudio Caniggia could save the day for the Albiceleste and he scored twich before the half time whistle. These goals gave Argentina the win, but later both of the teams qualified for the knockout stage.
In 1994 they qualified together and it happened once again in 2014. What will be in 2018?

Spain - Portugal
2010 Round of 16 1:0 / 2018 Group B

Another Portuguese lost, this time against the eventual World Cup winners in that year, Spain. The only goal scored by David Villa was enough for a win in the Iberian Peninsula derby and to qualify for the quarterfinals. The interesting name in the list is Portugal manager in this match, Carlos Queiroz. In 2018, he will make a double repeat while he will meet Spain and Portugal as the head coach of Iran.
With tons of emotion, what will be the end of the Queiroz-Portugal-Spain trio in the next World Cup?

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