Soccer World Cup Group F: Round 1 Preview and Betting Picks
Published on June 16, 2018
The current world champion Germany will be hoping to become the first nation in 50 years to win back-to-back soccer World Cups.
The squad of the country certainly is among the best in the tournament.
At a first glance, the likes of Mexico, Sweden, and South Korea are all tricky opponents.
However, you can check my Group F general preview in which I share the opinion that the Germans won’t have any issues reaching the last 16.
The only team that has the potential to trouble them is Mexico. Funny enough, this is the first opponent Germany will face, while Sweden and South Korea is the other game of the group.
Let’s see if there any valuable bets out there.
First things first, so let’s take a look at the main odds for this game.
Germany has one of the most balanced squads in the World Cup, so it’s no surprise that many believe the country could bring the trophy home once again. I certainly see them as one of the potential champions as well.
There are no weak links in the team. In fact, they have some of the best players in the world in a couple of positions. Despite his injury, Manuel Neuer remains a top goalie that can command the strong defense.
The midfield of Germany could match anyone. The likes of Kroos, Ozil, and the rest provide coach Joachim Low with all kinds of tactical options.
The Germans could control the tempo and play a game based on possession or use their pace and precision to demolish any opponent. Just ask Brazil, which was humiliated and lost 7-1 in the semifinals of the last World Cup.
On top of everything else, the Germans may have found the typical striker they’ve been lacking for a while. Timo Werner looks like an excellent finisher and the natural heir of Miroslav Klose up front. The boy has goals in him, and I expect a strong tournament for him.
I believe the Germans are simply too good for the rest of the teams in this Group F. However, if there is a side that could test them, it must be Mexico. The country has managed to reach the last 16 for 6 times in a row.
The squad changes through the years, but Mexico is somehow capable of preserving their style. The team works hard to protect the defense and always has some dangerous players in attack.
This year, the main threat will be Javier Hernandez, who is the all-time top scorer of the nation, but there are other talented players as well.
Overall, I believe Germany will still win, but the Mexicans will give one hell of a fight.
Germany is the clear favorite in this match, but the odds are too low against the only team that has the potential to surprise them. At the same time, I wouldn’t dare to bet against the current world champion against Mexico.
In fact, this is one of the games I seem unable to find a clear bet. Still, I do think the over 2.5 goals market is a decent option at 1.90. Germany has one of the strongest groups of attacking players, and Mexico could add a goal, too. Especially since Manuel Neuer might be a bit rusty after the injury.
My prediction for the final score is 3-1 for Germany.
Let’s take a look at the mainstream betting markets for this match.
Sweden will be hoping to somehow adapt to the retirement of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and manage to reach the knockout stages.
However, the country doesn’t look good in attack without the big striker. Sweden has scored only 1 goal in the 4 friendlies played in 2018. The lack of chances and clinical forwards is a big problem that could haunt the team in Russia as well.
Players like Seb Larsson and Emil Forsberg will be able to create some opportunities, but someone has to take advantage and score.
At the same time, Sweden has a solid defense that features both experienced players like Martin Olsson and promising youngsters like Victor Lindelof. The team doesn’t concede much, and the biggest testament was the playoff for a World Cup spot against Italy.
Sweden managed to keep a clean sheet in both legs and qualify for the finals. They had some luck as well but managed to limit Italy to half-chances and set pieces.
At the same time, the attack is one of the strengths of South Korea. Forwards Son Heung-min (Tottenham) and Hwang Hee-chan (FC Red Bull Salzburg) both had strong seasons for their clubs. The whole nation hopes the two of them can show the same in the World Cup.
Even if that happens, I can’t see South Korea reaching the last 16. The squad lacks quality at the back and in midfield, which will be an issue against pretty much every other team in Group F.
Still, if there’s a game in which South Korea has the chance to take something, it’s the one against Sweden.
It’s not easy to find a solid bet for this game, because Sweden is an enigma to me at this point. It is possible that other players will step up in the absence of Zlatan and provide a boost up front.
However, there are signs that the opposite is happening and that Sweden will lack the cutting edge in attack. I’m not quite sure if I see any value in two main markets, so I will have to look elsewhere.
I feel the odds of 1.95 for a draw in the first 45 minutes of the game have some value up for grabs. Sweden will probably have more of the ball but struggle to penetrate. At the same time, the team is solid at the back, so 0-0 at HT is a good choice.
As for the final score, I think Sweden might just edge it and win 1-0.
Of course, it’s time to see what will be the best option for the Million Pound Bet by BetVictor. I will follow through my correct score prediction for the game between Sweden and South Korea, so let’s take a look.
The other two selections of the BetVictor PriceItUp feature were added because of the expected nature of the game. I see it as a tight affair, with some territorial advantage for Sweden.
I must say that I see this group F as one of the most boring ones for a couple of reasons. For a start, Germany and Mexico should qualify with ease, in my opinion.
At the same time, Sweden and South Korea are two teams that don’t have much to offer. I hope I’m wrong, though, for the sake of the entertainment.