World Cup 2018: The Fans’ Preview – Group F

World Cup 2018 is going to be here very soon, the biggest sporting event on earth and i think its time for a quick overall view of of the teams in the competition. We will post some analysis to share with you and lets get a few of the microwave pop corn ready, clean your sofa and stock up your fridge and do the count down!!!

The reigning champions are the headline act in Group F, with Germany  looking to become the first side to successfully defend the World Cup title since Brazil in 1962.

Joachim Low’s side take on Mexico on June 17 to get the group underway, while 2002 semi-finalists South Korea face a Zlatan-free Sweden.

After witnessing what became of defending champions at tournaments past, the Germans will not be taking the task lightly against Mexico and Korea – who both qualified at a canter – and the Swedes who…well, just ask Italy.

Here’s what the fans think…

1. Germany

Name: Felix Christmann @ChristZudemMann

Proudest moment ever as a Germany fan: Of course the World Cup win in 2014. Never before has a team from Europe won the title in South America. So come on, can there be any better moment than that?

Worst moment ever as a Germany fan: The semi final in 2006. The whole of Germany celebrated the event and the vibes in our cities were incredible. Everybody was full of hope that we would win in our own country. That was until Italy, and Fabio Grosso, killed all our dreams in the extra time. I was 14 and so sad…It felt like a part of me died. I cried that night, but the next day I woke up and said to myself ‘come on, you’re almost an adult. Stop crying about football.’ It changed my way of thinking about football.

Player to watch that other fans might not be aware of: I reckon, that could be Timo Werner. He’s Germany’s number one striker but I don’t think, that people all around the world know him.

Team other than your own to watch this summer: Maybe this sounds weird, but I love to see the small countries who qualified. So I prefer to watch the matches of the underdogs. Panama vs Tunisia is to be honest my personal highlight.

Realistically how far will Germany go: I think, we can go to the final, if the squad plays as a team. We have many young players, who do not have the experience, but the quality of the squad is good. However, I don’t think we will defend the title.

One player that will probably made the Germany squad but shouldn’t in your opinion: Sebastian Rudy! I actually have no idea, why Löw picked him. He went from Hoffenheim to Bayern last season, but in my opinion, he didn’t prove that he’s a player of Champions League level. We have enough good players with much more quality in his position.

2. Mexico

Name: Daniel Iturbe @DanIturbe91

Best moment during qualification Beating the old enemy, the United States, at their home in November 2016 was a sign that Mexico could do it on a cold Saturday night in Ohio, with Rafa Marquez clinching a dramatic 89th-minute winner. To add an extra dimension to this win, it came a few days after Donald Trump was elected president. I personally couldn’t think of a better two fingered salute to him, following his anti-Mexican rhetoric, than a team of Mexicans celebrating victory on his turf.

Proudest moment as a Mexico fan: Winning the gold medal in the London 2012 Olympics was a defining moment for Mexican football. We beat the favourites Brazil in the final, which made it even sweeter. I live in London, so I watched the game in one of the giant screens at Hyde Park with hundreds of other Mexico fans, before heading to Trafalgar Square to party with thousands more until the early hours. One of the few times I’ve openly cried at a football game.

Player to watch that other fans might not be aware of: Hirving Lozano. The pacey, right-footed winger made his name playing for Pachuca in the Mexican League, where he won the CONCACAF Champions League, before moving to PSV Eindhoven. The 22-year-old has had no trouble adapting to the Dutch League, scoring 17 goals, and providing eight assists as he lifted the Eeridivise trophy in his debut season. Lozano has all the markings of a world class player and some good World Cup performances will no doubt attract the attention of Europe’s biggest clubs.

Which group game are you most nervous about: Germany. Taking on the reigning champions in our opening group game is probably the worst draw we could have been given, but we’ve overcome bigger obstacles in the past. All the pressure will be on the Germans to attack, and with our defence looking organised and pacey attackers we could catch them on the break.

I’m crossing every last finger we can sneak a draw and put ourselves in a good position to go through to the last 16. Every Mexico fan dreams of La Quinta – that is the fifth game, the coveted quarter-final spot and the furthest we’ve ever made it at a World Cup.

3. South Korea

Name: Jin-Ho Park

Best moment during qualification: The final match with Uzbekistan. The game ended as a 0-0 draw, but thanks to Syria’s second goal in the last minute in the match with Iran (which was held at the same time) Korea could successfully qualify.

Proudest moment ever as a Korea fan: The 2002 World Cup in Korea & Japan, when Korea finished fourth. Besides the results, the World Cup was well known for its huge fan gatherings in Seoul and around the countries.

Worst moment ever as a Korea fan: The match with Netherlands in the 1998 World Cup, when Netherlands beat us 5-0. After the match, Korea coach Cha Bum-kun (who was also a legendary player in the Bundesliga) had to step down. Ironically, the Netherlands’ coach was Guus Hiddink at that time. He became Korea’s coach in 2002 World Cup and led Korea to the semi-final.

Player to watch that other fans might not be aware of: Lee Jae-sung. He plays in K-League and is a less well-known player than Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur) or Ki Sung-yueng (Swansea City). Lee is a young and talented midfielder who can use both feet very well and is a good passer and finisher. I expect he can go to a big European league after the tournament.

Which group game are you most nervous about: All of the group matches will be very tough and exciting, I expect.

Realistically how far will Korea go: It’s unlikely we will get out of the group. Germany can probably get nine or seven points in total and Mexico looks stronger than Sweden and Korea. But anything can happen in the world of football.

4. Sweden

Name: Tina Tärnrot

Best moment in qualification: The miracle in Milano! When we sensationally won against Italy in the playoffs [thanks to Jacob Johansson goal].

Proudest moment as a Sweden fan: The moment in the 1994 World Cup in the USA when goalkeeper Thomas Ravelli made a spectacular save to win the penalty shoot-out in the quarter-finals against Romania. We ended the tournament in third place.

Worst moment ever as a Sweden fan: When Cristiano Ronaldo scored those goals against us and we lost against Portugal in the playoffs and didn’t make it to the World Cup in Brazil four years ago.

Player to watch that other fans might not be aware of: [Waasland-Beveren striker] Isaac Kiese Thelin.

Team other than your own to watch this summer: Brazil.

Which group game are you most nervous about: I’m worried about all three games in the group, but especially the one against Germany.

Realistically how far will Sweden go: I’m not sure we will even advance to the knockout stage. Hopefully we will make it to the quarter-final but I think that is as good as it gets.

Will this Sweden side miss Zlatan Ibrahimovic this summer: Yes and no. Zlatan is Zlatan, there is no one like him, but without him the Swedish team can focus on being a team, not a one man Zlatan show.

 

 

 

 

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