Wednesday 20 June 2018

World Cup: Germany v Sweden

After a shock but completely deserved loss to Mexico in their opener, Germany need to make up for lost time. Against a stocky and tough Sweden side, that’s going to be very interesting to watch.

There’s a lot riding on this game; can Die Mannschaft sort it out?

Germany News
After Herving Lozano gave them such a tough game in the opener, Germany are in the mood to impress. Their defence looked disjointed and their two centre-halves, Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels, looked very slow. If they are going to deal with Sweden, they cannot have that same lack of organization.

While Sweden might lack the pace of Mexico, they are nowhere near as open. Germany will need the likes of Mesut Ozil to step forward and deliver a top quality performance. With just one assist at tournaments for Germany, though, that might seem less likely than it first sounds.

Sweden News

Sweden come into this flying with confidence. They dealt with South Korea at arms’ length, and should have little if any issues being able to stay compact here. Sweden lack craft and pace, but they are solid, hard to break down and score their goals at key times.

Expect them to sit in deep and make it hard for Germany to get any kind of flow going. If they can do that, they should be able to stop Germany making too much headway: captain Andreas Granqvist will need to put in a performance for the ages, though.

The idea of Germany going two FIFA World Cup games without a win is just ludicrous to a certain generation. We recommend that you get used to the idea, though: Germany might just struggle to break down a Sweden side who know the value of defensive solidity.

Monday 11 June 2018

World Cup: Russia vs Saudi Arabia

As far as opening games of the FIFA World Cup goes, Russia against Saudi Arabia might be low-key. However, if you were to look over the history of the tournament, the games which we often expect to be dull are sometimes the best!

With Russia bringing arguably the worst national side in their history against what some consider to be the best Saudi Arabia has ever had, this game should be quite interesting. Consider that Russia have among the oldest defences in the tournament while the Saudi Arabians are equipped with rapid pace on the break; what does this mean for the hosts?

Russia News
For Russia, the entire tournament feels like it belongs to the Miranchuk brothers and Fedor Smolov. The Krasnodar forward has been one of the best players in the domestic scene for some time, and could be looking to use the World Cup to get a bit move

The Russians need him to fire, though, as they have little to no creativity outside of him and the defence is a mess. With 12 in 32 for his nation, Smolov is the now-or-never star that could help Russia achieve some semblance of success from the World Cup.

Saudi Arabia News
For Saudi Arabia, the main player they have to look for is Al-Nasser forward Mohammad Al-Sahlawi. He scored a whopping 16 goals in qualifying, and comes into this tournament with some very good form.
However, the main issue with Al-Sahlawi is his big game drop-offs. He scored seven goals in two games against East Timor, but only one in the ‘big’ games in a loss to Australia. Hes not scored in friendlies against decent opposition including Peru, Greece, Belgium and Germany; if he cant fire, the lack of other forward options will tell.

It’s hard to call, but we think Russia will get the win here. While we might suggest the Saudi’s are a better side, they lack big game experience. Russia, while losing, has played a host of top sides recently and could benefit from that. We’re calling a Russia win, but not by much at all. If they fail to beat Saudi Arabia, expect them to lose all three games.