Will it be Mexico and Germany or Mexico and Sweden to make it through from this group?
With the FIFA World Cup group stages coming to an end later this week, one particular group which will be on everyone’s radar is Group F. Not many could’ve actually predicted this group to go down to the wire in the last round. Indeed, many presumed that Germany would reign supreme, but because of their reality-check against Mexico and dramatic win against Sweden, the group has been blown wide open.
There is no place for complacency for any team heading into the final round of games and even Mexico, despite winning both their games, haven’t officially qualified as of yet. For them, the equation is quite simple as they have to get on;y one point to not only book their place in the Round of 16 but also affirm their place as group winners.
The 22-year-old Mexican silenced German fans in style
Sweden need to defeat Mexico at all costs in order to have a chance of qualifying for the knockout stages. They will also have to win by a bigger margin (2-0 or 3-0) in order to go above Mexico in the standings and become group toppers themselves. Just a narrow win will probably not be enough, as Germany comprehensively beating South Korea will allow them to progress.
The Germans got a much-needed lifeline thanks to their dramatic last-minute win against Sweden. Thanks to the momentum built in that victory, Germany will play against South Korea with confidence and try to wrap up the deal convincingly. They still have a chance to finish as group winners and will need Sweden to defeat Mexico and themselves to beat Korea by a big margin. But, a loss against Korea could be disastrous for the defending champions, as that could mean elimination if Sweden can earn a point against Mexico.
Nerves of steel of Toni Kroos kept his country in contention
For the “minnows” of the group in South Korea, all isn’t exactly lost just yet. The equation is a daunting one as they will have to comprehensively beat Germany (by more than 2-3 goals) in order to go above them on goal-difference. They will also need Sweden to lose their match against Mexico, which could allow them to progress.
But, if Sweden and Germany both manage to finish on the same number of points and the same goal-difference (on which they’re level right now), things could get interesting. In that case, goals scored will come into the equation. Currently, Germany have scored two goals, which is the same as Sweden. So, if they were to win their match 1-0 and Sweden won theirs 3-2, that would mean that the Germans would have scored three goals, while Sweden would have scored five. This would result in the defending champions being eliminated and Sweden going through.
If Sweden and Germany can’t be separated on goals scored either and manage to win both their matches by a narrow 1-0 margin, then the criterion of “fair play” comes into the equation. Currently, Germany are on -5 in terms of Fair Play Points, while Sweden are on -2. So, if things stay like this, similar victories would also mean that Sweden would not only go through, but would actually win the group. Mexico would finish as runners-up at that point, with the Germans going home.
There’s a lot on the line for everyone involved in Group F on Wednesday and any of the four teams could go through to the knockout rounds.