Group F: ‘The Group of Death’

Comments

While everyone expects Germany to advance from this group, the other three teams are quite competitive.

Sweden and Mexico should battle it out for second place, and while this South Korean team isn’t nearly as strong as those at past World Cups, they are still in with a chance.

GERMANY

How qualified: Won UEFA Group C

Population: 80.5 million

Team nickname: National Mannschaft (‘National team’)

Best World Cup performance: 1st place (1954, 1974, 1990 – as West Germany, 2014)

Coach: Joachim Low (GER)

You might know: Toni Kroos (Real Madrid)

Odds: $5.50 (subject to change)

The good: Depth. Lots of it.

The bad: Keeper question marks if Manuel Neuer isn’t fit.

MEXICO

How qualified: 1st CONCACAF

Population: 124.5 million

Team nickname: El Tri (“Three colours” – red, green, white)

Best World Cup finish: Quarter-finals (1970 and 1986)

Coach: Juan Carlos Osorio (COL)

You might know: Javier Hernandez (West Ham United)

Odds: $101 (subject to change)

The good: Impressive in CONCACAF qualifying.

The bad: Have a history of knockout round flameouts.

SOUTH KOREA

How qualified: 2nd place AFC Group A

Population: 51 million

Capital: Seoul

Team nickname: Taeguk Warriors (Taeguk relates to levels of martial arts as well as the symbols on the South Korean flag)

Best World Cup finish: 4th place (2002)

Coach: Shin Tae-yong (KOR)

You might know: Ki Sung-yueng (Swansea City)

Odds: $501 (subject to change)

The good: They’re here.

The bad: Made a meal of qualifying.

SWEDEN

How qualified: Won playoff v Italy

Population: 9.9 million

Team nickname: The Blue-Yellow

Best World Cup finish: Runners-up (1958)

Coach: Janne Andersson (SWE)

You might know: Emil Forsberg (Red Bull Leipzig)

Odds: $151 (subject to change)

The good: Gutsy and resilient, beat Italy in playoff.

The bad: No Zlatan to entertain us.

Two to advance:

-Germany (group winners)

-Mexico (gut feeling)

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What do you think?