Mexico get their soccer World Cup campaign underway when they take on holders Germany at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Sunday (11am ET).
In many ways, it is good for Mexico to get their hardest match of the group out of the way first up, as it will leave them clear as to what they need to do in their subsequent fixtures against South Korea and Sweden in order to progress to the knockout stages.
If they could secure an unexpected victory, it could even provide Mexico with the spark they need for everything to come together. That was the opinion expressed by coach Juan Carlos Osorio in the wake of his side’s 0-2 defeat to Denmark in a final warm-up friendly that left more questions than answers in terms of where Mexico stand coming into Russia 2018.
They qualified impressively, but injuries have robbed them of two of their likely starters in the form of central defender Nestor Araujo and central defender-cum-defensive midfielder Diego Reyes. They have also had real problems scoring goals in the build up to the tournament, notching just once over the course of their four most recent friendlies.
The approach that Mexico take against Germany is likely to be less offensively minded than in their subsequent matches, although reports coming out of the camp suggest that Osorio will still put plenty of attacking talent out on the field on Sunday.
Osorio is an unpopular figure amongst members of the Mexican support, and indeed the press, but the players are fully behind him. Giovani Dos Santos celebrated his goal in the friendly win over Scotland by running straight over to the sidelines to hug him, while Jesus Gallardo last week said that the squad are ready to “fight to the death” for their coach.
Mexico will take the third oldest squad of any participating nation into this summer’s tournament and there are plenty of players within the group with previous World Cup experience. Whether that and Osorio’s extensive preparations will allow them to progress beyond the last 16 for the first time since 1986 does, however, remain to be seen. A potential last-16 tie against Brazil would certainly make achieving that target extremely difficult.
The American sports betting companies have Germany alongside Brazil as one of the favorites to retain the trophy they won four years ago. Their breadth of talent – illustrated by the omission of Manchester City’s electrifying winger Leroy Sane – their consistent approach over the last decade or so, and their ability to switch up their tactics make them fearsome opponents for any team.
Joachim Low’s side qualified with a perfect record of 10 wins from 10 matches, scoring an average of more than four goals a match in the process, and won last year’s Confederations Cup in Russia with a second string squad. The World Cup draw has given them a potentially easier run to the last four than some of their fellow favorites.
Germany have not been quite as impressive in the immediate build up to Russia 2018. In an admittedly rather tough set of friendly fixtures following the conclusion of the qualifiers, they have drawn against England, France and Spain and lost to Brazil (and Austria). Their five-match winless streak was brought to an end with victory over Saudi Arabia last Friday.
Mexico were, though, one of the sides who Germany defeated en route to winning the Confederations Cup. Leon Goretzka scored twice, while Timo Werner also got on the scoresheet in a 4-1 victory at the semi-final stage. Both players used that tournament as a springboard to the World Cup, where they form part of the joint sixth-youngest squad in the competition.
Germany have triumphed in each of the last three meetings between these sides, while Mexico have never defeated them across their five previous encounters. Germany have also won their opening match in each of their last six major international tournaments, including a 4-0 thrashing of Portugal in their debut fixture at Brazil 2014.
Mexico are a decent side, but it is still difficult to look beyond Germany as the likely winners of the opening fixture in Group F.
Our Preview’s Germany vs. Mexico Predictions & Betting Picks Verdict
For our Mexico vs Germany predictions, this preview advises the following pick:
- Bet on Germany to win in a match featuring over 2.5 goals @ +125 with Bovada.