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Korea Republic – Likely the worst team to make the field, Korea will be entering thus year’s world down a (somewhat) significant player. Winger Kwon Chang-hoon suffered an Achilles injury and greatly changed the scoring landscape of this offense. Although they still have their all-star player Son Heung-min, Korea will be fighting the steepest uphill battle in the tournament facing off in the group stage against Sweden, Mexico and Germany… OUCH.
Sweden – THE WORLD NEEDS MORE ZLATAN! Unfortunately for the world, Sweden didn’t select Zlatan for their squad this year. Sweden is running with a 4-4-2 which means they have two strikers and the entire team will need to play hard nose unselfish soccer… and that’s not what Zlatan would want to do. Although leaving Zlatan out hurts them on the offensive end this, in turn, makes this years team a closer group that will be tough to score on. Its entirely possible Sweden sneak into the knockout stage by upsetting Mexico, but it would have to come from a stellar performance from their striker’s Ola Toivonen and John Guidetti.
Mexico – Six World Cups in a row Mexico has made the knockout stage and gone no further. It’s painful to see such a talented team with so much promise fail consistently. And with lesser talent then years past Mexico’s chances of bucking that trend don’t look good. Sweden may even sneak up and take second in this group. Hirving Lozano is the key factor here. Lozano will have to find a way to not only capitalize on chances himself but also create chances for his teammates. That’s a big task for a winger, especially against Sweden and Germany who pride themselves on mistake free soccer.
Germany – Ozil, Muller, Kroos, Reus, Gundogan, Khedira… Who is going to stop these guys? They are going to light you up, and don’t even think about trying to outscore them. In goal stands a 6’4″ schnitzel eating beast that is Maneul Neuer. The group stage really is of no concern for Germany, in fact, they are very VERY likely to repeat as World Cup Champions. Beyond that the only thing to talk about here is Timo Werner, the future of German National soccer. A nondescript center forward/striker, Werner is the type of player Germany will look to build around in its present and future. Werner assures that Germany will still be a super power on the world stage for the foreseeable future.