World Cup: Germany Opens With Tough Match Against New-Look Mexico

Jun 16, 2018 6:18 PM EDT

Germany vs. Mexico, 11 a.m. ET Sunday, Fox Sports 1

  • Mexico +643
  • Germany -199
  • Draw +356

Bet to Watch:

Under 2.75* goals -112 (Bookmaker)

The German national team is a well-oiled machine at this point. Die Mannschaft have reached the semifinals in every tournament since 2002, culminating with a title in 2014.

Mexico is also a model of consistency, but in a different way. El Tri have progressed from the group stage in every World Cup since 1986 but have been eliminated in the round of 16 in the past six tournaments (1994-2014). However, this isn’t your father’s Mexican team. In fact, this team is different from any squad at the World Cup.

Manager Juan Carlos Osorio has turned them into a chameleon squad, able to adapt to any opponent. I’d expect Osorio to set up a compact midfield and try to make life difficult on Toni Kroos, Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil (who may not start due to an injury).


Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Juan Carlos Osorio

Interestingly, this adapt-to-your-opponents tactic is one that Germany has perfected under manager Joachim Low. If Mexico shut down the center of the pitch, the Germans will adjust and start using the flanks to spread El Tri thin. Germany have talent all over the place, so it’s not like shutting down Kroos and Khedira would stop them from going forward.

Mexico will fancy their chances against Sweden and South Korea, so a loss to Germany isn’t a deal-breaker, but they’ll want to hang in the game to avoid a blowout and maybe, just maybe, squeak out a draw. And while that’s a tall task, it’s not out of the question, especially since Germany haven’t looked all that sharp in their pre-tournament friendlies.

 

Additionally, if there’s a time you want to play Germany, it’s in Game 1. Even though the Germans are well-drilled, they will likely get better as the tournament progresses.

I’m expecting this game to be pretty tight and believe Mexico will ugly it up to — at the very least — keep their goal differential in order. Germany should figure out El Tri eventually, but I don’t think they’ll find this one easy, and I think there’s value on the under.

*This is called an Asian handicap, which means half your bet is placed on Under 2.5 and the other half of your bet is placed on Under 3.

Follow Michael J. Leboff on Twitter
@TheBigLeebowski

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