DEFENDING CHAMPIONS Germany make their 2018 World Cup bow on Sunday afternoon as they take on Mexico in Moscow in Group F's opening showdown. Lucas Swain (@LucasSwain95) previews the encounter and picks out his best bets.
Germany v Mexico | Sunday 17th June 2018, 16:00 | BBC
If you’ve been reading all of the content on WeLoveBetting for this World Cup you’ve probably seen a few opening paragraphs from writers saying how happy they are football’s greatest stage has finally come around.
I am certainly no exception from the WLB team with my levels of excitement, but seeing as I’m going to be here covering the whole of Group F I think it’s only fair to lay out my preconceptions of the group first.
Germany – They’re one of the market leaders for a reason and they can never be discounted. I fancy them to go the distance and potentially even win the competition. However, they’re not my pick to lift the trophy but they’re certainly in the top bracket.
South Korea – Easily the weakest side in the group but Heung-min Son is an exciting prospect if he is producing. Despite this, their form away from home is poor and couple that with a decent group and they could be fixed to the bottom of it.
Mexico – Mexico are many people’s tip to finish behind Germany in second, but I wouldn’t be so sure. They CONCACAF side have a fantastic relationship with the first knockout round and they will bring excitement, but the groups could be the end of them.
Sweden – Mexico’s main competition for the second spot in the group, the Swedes come here without the arrogant Zlatan Ibrahimovic who has still managed to bag himself a World Cup advertising deal with Visa. I think the Europeans are better off without him, but only time will tell.
Of 18 World Cups, the Germans have made the semi-finals or beyond on 10 occasions – that is a simply staggering record.
Building on that, ever since the turn of the millennium their record reads: 2nd, 3rd, 3rd and 1st. The turn of the millennium is notable in German football as it spelled that launch of an overhaul in the nation’s approach to player development from grassroots up.
Ever since the embarrassment of Euro 2000 where Die Nationalmannschaft finished bottom of their group and sent the nation red-faced, the country has been transformed and now they take tournaments by storm.
What’s even more impressive are the Germans are stereotypically efficient, and they’ve only failed to win one group opener (7/8) in both European Championships and World Cup since then, with that one failing being a draw with the Netherlands in Euro 2004.
“The F***ing Mexicans”
If you’re wondering about the sub header, I’ve been gagging to get a Mike Bassett: England Manager reference in this article ever since I was assigned the group and that’ll be it…maybe.
Mexico cruised to qualification for this tournament and there are a few takes I’ve got from this: they struggled against the superior sides, dropping points against the United States, Honduras and Costa Rica; Hirving Lozano is a talented player set for a successful World Cup.
The issue for Mexico is their defence, and the manager Juan Carlos Osorio has been addressing this of late by using a defensive set-up with either a deeper midfield or five-at-the-back when they play the superior sides just like Germany.
The Central American side can rely on the likes of Javier Hernandez, Lozano and Oribe Peralta for goals, but they shouldn’t be able to outgun the Germans. The best example of this is the Confederations Cup where the Europeans came away 4-1 winners in a one-sided affair.
The betting angle
So, now it’s time to take a look at the betting. The bookmakers naturally side with the Germans and they can be found at around 1/2 for victory in this one, which is an implied probability of 66.7%
With the above in mind, the Asian Handicap market appeals. If you’re unfamiliar with this handicap then please head here for a full description, but in short if the team matches the line then the bet refunds rather than loses.
Currently Germany can be found at 19/20 for a -1 handicap with Black Type, and they put down a marker in the last World Cup by beating Portugal 4-0 to start so why can’t they do it here against weaker opposition? I don’t envisage this price lasting particularly long for Germany, so I would be advising staking this sooner rather than later.
Much has been said about Germany’s poor friendly performances after scraping a win from Saudi Arabia (2-1) in preparation for this tournament. However, we must remember that they also drew with Poland and Cameroon before the 2014 instalment and the South Americans are still smarting as Germany waltzed in the Maracana to their fourth World Cup.
Germany v Mexico – Germany -1 Asian Handicap (19/20 Black Type)