Current champions Germany find themselves in Group F at FIFA World Cup 2018. Die Mannschaft are joined by Mexico, South Korea and Sweden.
The Germans have struggled in recent friendlies, but they are huge favourites to qualify from their group. Behind Germany, Mexico seem to be most likely to grab the second qualifying spot.
A brief look at four nations and their hopes of qualifying for the next round:
Germany come into the World Cup on the back of a perfect qualifying campaign. They registered maximum points from their ten games and only conceded four goals throughout the campaign. However, their recent form has been worrying as they have registered only one win in their last six games and that result was a 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia.
In three out of last four World Cups, standing champions have bowed out in the group stage. Does the same fate await Germany in Russia? We certainly don’t think so. The Germans are certainly not as strong as they were four years ago, but we expect them to progress beyond the group stage.
Germany are available at 4/9 odds to top the group and at 1/7 odds to qualify from the group.
Mexico might not have the most glamorous side in the world, but they are always capable of springing a surprise. El Tri also boast of an impressive consistency at World Cups as they have progressed from their group in each of their last seven appearances in the tournament. They were also impressive in the qualifying campaign and won the CONCACAF group ahead of sides such as Costa Rica, Panama and the United States. In 2014, Mexico lost 2-1 to the Netherlands in pre-quarterfinals.
Javier Hernandez and Carlos Vela are expected to handle goalscoring duties, and experienced defender Rafael Márquez is still going strong at the age of 39.
Mexico are second-favourites in the group to qualify at 6/5 odds.
The Asian nation are a regular at World Cup, but they still find themselves far behind European and South American teams. In nine attempts, South Korea have managed to progress beyond the group stage on two occasions. In 2002, they registered their best finish as they made it to the last-four on the back of strong home support. In 2010, Red Devils made it out of their group ahead of Greece and Nigeria but lost to Uruguay in last-16.
They find themselves in a tougher group this time, and there will be very little expectation from them in Russia. They are favourites to finish bottom of the group at 11/13 odds.
Sweden are back among top 32 footballing nations following a gap of 12 years. It was quite close for the Swedes in qualifying campaign as they finished in the second spot in the group, ahead of the Netherlands due to a better goal difference. In the playoffs, the Scandinavian nation registered a narrow 1-0 aggregate win over Italy.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic won’t play a part in Russia, and Marcus Berg will be the main goalscorer for the Swedes. RB Leipzig midfielder Emil Forsberg and Manchester United defender Victor Lindelöf are other key names in the Sweden squad.
Sweden are available at 11/8 odds to qualify from the group and at 8/11 odds not to qualify.
Mexico to qualify from the group.
South Korea not to qualify.