Mexico-Sweden (27 June 2018, Ekaterinburg Arena, Ekaterinburg)
While nothing can be taken for granted at the World Cup, four-time world champions and current FIFA Confederations Cup holders Germany are widely expected to top this group. That means that this duel between Mexico and Sweden could play a vital role in determining who secures the second Round of 16 spot – although Korea Republic will also be keen to have a say in the matter.
What you need to know
- Germany and Mexico met in the semi-final of the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia in June 2017. Although the Europeans were 4-1 winners on that occasion, Marco Fabian scored the most spectacular goal of the tournament during the match.
- In an unexpected twist, Korea Republic have played Germany on three previous occasions and Sweden four times, but have contested a scarcely believable 12 games against Mexico. El Tri emerged victorious in six of these matches, including a 3-1 win in their only previous World Cup meeting at France 1998.
- Having already overcome three former World Cup finalists in their bid to qualify for Russia 2018, Sweden now face a team with a record eight World Cup Final appearances – Germany. Many football fans may not remember that Sweden are also former finalists, having lost 5-2 to Pele’s Brazil on home turf in 1958.
16 – The number of goals scored in the two matches between Sweden and Germany during 2014 FIFA World Cup™ qualification. Joachim Low’s side threw away a 4-0 lead in an incredible game in Berlin in October 2012 that ultimately ended 4-4. A year later in Solna, the Germans turned a 2-0 deficit into a 5-3 win.