Verdict: Germany win
Best Odds: 1/2
On Sunday afternoon, world champions Germany will start the defence of their title as they face Mexico in Group F of the World Cup in the Luzhniki Stadium.
Germany cruised through qualifying with a perfect record. No team scored more than Die Mannschaft’s goal tally of 43 in European qualifying. At the other end of the pitch, they conceded just four times.
The team ranked first team in the world will be looking to become the first team since Brazil in 1962 to retain the World Cup.
Despite Die Mannschaft’s comfortable qualification for Russia 2018, Joachim Low’s side has struggled for wins in recent games. In fact, a 2-1 defeat in their final preparation game against Saudi Arabia ended a run of five games without a victory for Low’s side.
The Germans are a team that thrives in the big competitions. No doubt they will move up a gear once the competition kicks off.
Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil is struggling with a knee problem, so Marco Reus or Julian Draxler may start the game in his absence. First choice goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is expected to start, despite struggling with injury during last season.
Mexico have the impressive record of making the last 16 in the last six World Cups. However, El Tri has failed to make it past the last 16 since 1986 on home soil. Their only other last-eight appearance came on home soil in 1970.
Juan Carlos Osorio’s side were pretty impressive in qualifying, seeing off arch-rivals the USA, while also finishing ahead of fellow qualifiers Costa Rica.
El Tri’s form heading into Russia 2018 has been mixed, but they have recorded just one win in their last four international outings. One worrying fact for Mexico is that they have failed to score in three of their last four games.
West Ham striker and the country’s all-time leading scorer Javier Hernandez may start this game on the bench, as he failed to start El Tri’s last two warm-up games. Elsewhere, there are no
Neither side has been in great form in recent friendlies. However, a competitive game is likely to be far removed from those relatively meaningless friendlies. This could be a tough opening game for Germany, as Mexico is not an easy opponent.
However, I can see Joachim Low’s team doing just enough to secure a victory in an entertaining clash.
Verdict: Germany Win
Best Odds: 1/2