MOSCOW. The first match of Group F offers up one of World Cup’s glamour ties at Germany take on Mexico in Moscow.
World champions Germany need to make a statement of intent as they begin the defence of their trophy off the back of a bad year of results, and Mexico may well feel that Die Nationalmannschaft are there for the taking in a tough group.
Germany and Mexico have met 11 times, with the former winning six times. Mexico have one just once – back in 1985, against West Germany.
The last time the teams met, Germany won 4-1 in the Confederations Cup in June 2017.
Switzerland’s first task at the World Cup is to find a way to stop Brazil, who are among the favourites to win the tournament in Russia.
The Selecao have lifted football’s most famous trophy fives times in their history, and a squad packed full of talent and power will be looking to add No.6 this summer. The two nations have faced each other eight times.
Brazil have won three games, with three draws and Switzerland winning twice.
The team has only four survivors — Marcelo, Paulinho, Fernandinho and Willian — remain from the side routed by Germany, a game that Neymar missed due to injury.
That, of course, has been a theme recently revisited but the world’s most expensive player is set to be joined by Philippe Coutinho, Willian and Gabriel Jesus in a mouth-watering attacking line-up.
“We should be a cohesive team, like a family,” said Manchester City striker Jesus, who is set to get the nod ahead of Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino as starting No. 9. “Everyone keeps talking about our attack, but players who tackle opponents should not be forgotten. We have a perfect defence, which makes our team balanced.”
Although Brazil will be favourites to win the group, all three other nations will think they are capable of finishing second in the table to reach the last 16.
Group E of the World Cup begins with what should be a tight match as Serbia take on Costa Rica.
It will be the first time that Costa Rica and Serbia have faced each other.
After years of pain and underachieving, Marko Grujic says belief is back for Serbia as it prepares to open the World Cup against Costa Rica.