The Bluffer's Guide To The World Cup: Group F

The Bluffer's Guide To The World Cup: Group F
By Eoin Lyons

You may only have a passing interest in football, but with the World Cup upon us now is the time to hone your meagre footballing knowledge, if only for the inevitable water cooler chat the day after a big game.

The Bluffer's Guide To Group F

Germany

Nickname: Die Mannschaft

Manager: Joachim Löw

FIFA Ranking: 1

Germany have one of the strongest squads in the tournament, as evidenced by their omission of Leroy Sane, who won young player of the year in the Premier League.

Manuel Neuer looks set to win his fitness race to take his spot between the sticks and the Bayern goalkeeper will be a massive presence for Die Mannschaft if he can replicate the form of his last World Cup.

Germany are probably the most well-rounded side in the team and a spine of Neuer, Boateng, Hummels, Kroos, Khedira and Ozil should see them into at least the semi-finals.

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Thing to say to make yourself sound clever: Listen Sané has never shown his club form for Die Mannschaft, Löw is right to go with Reus.

Meaningless platitude to spout every now and again: Germany will always turn up at the World Cup.

Useless stat to churn out to give a semblance of expertise: Germany have reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in each of the last four occasions.

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Mexico

Nickname: El Tri

Manager: Juan Carlos Osorio

FIFA Ranking: 15

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Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio renowned for changing his team line-up frequently, so it's hard to predict how El Tri will line out.

PSV's tempermental winger Hirving Lozano could make a big splash on the world stage, the 22-year-old is coming off the back of a great season in the Eredivisie.

Javier Hernandez will lead the line for Mexico, while ex-Premier League players Carlos Vela and Giovani Dos Santos will provide support.

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Mexico should get out of the group, but the country has a wretched record when it comes to the knockout round, having not progressed past the round of 16 since Mexico '86.

Thing to say to make yourself sound clever: Osorio needs to pick a settled eleven, the players look like they've barely played together.

Meaningless platitude to spout every now and again: Osorio's team will be hart to beat, mainly because they're so unpredictable.

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Useless stat to churn out to give a semblance of expertise: After 45 games managing the Mexico, Osorio coach hasn't repeated a single lineup.

Sweden

Nickname: Blågult - The Blue-Yellow

Manager: Janne Andersson

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FIFA Ranking: 24

RB Leipzip midfielder is the star of this Sweden side, a Scandinavian Lallana that can link midfield with attack. The Swedish squad is full of hard workers and without Zlatan Ibrahimovic there is more focus on the collective resilience than individual flair.

Wigan reject Andreas Granqvist partners Manchester United's Victor Lindelof in defence and Celtic defender Mikael Lustig and Sebastien Larsson other familiar faces to English football fans.

Sweden could spring a surprise in Group E, with Mexico firmly in their crosshairs and the two teams are evenly matched going into the tournament.

Thing to say to make yourself sound clever: There's a dearth of creativity in midfield, they should bring Forsberg more central.

Meaningless platitude to spout every now and again: This Sweden team is missing the attacking flair of an Ibrahimovic.

Useless stat to churn out to give a semblance of expertise: Sweden are unbeaten in their last nine group games at the World Cup.

South Korea

Nickname: Taegeuk Warriors

Manager: Shin Tae-yong

FIFA Ranking: 57

Son Heung-Min is the star of this South Korea team, and under pressure to perform in Russia, with Swansea's Ki Sung-yueng the only other recognisable name in Shin Tae-yong's squad.

It's hard to gauge what would be a success for this South Korea team, Shin Tae-yong has his troops all pulling in the same direction, though Taegeuk Warriors will do well to make it to the round of 16.

Thing to say to make yourself sound clever: Watch out for Lee Seung-Woo, they're calling him the “Korean Messi", he was a youth player in La Masia.

Meaningless platitude to spout every now and again: So much pressure on Son to perform, he may well crumble under the weight of expectation.

Useless stat to churn out to give a semblance of expertise: Son Heung-Min is facing military service, but may be exempt from joining the Korean army if he can lead South Korea to the semi-finals of the competition. This is what happened in 2002, when South Korea reached the semis and were pardoned from military service.

See Also: The Bluffer's Guide To The World Cup: Group A

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