The World Cup continued with activity yesterday and a few surprises came from Group F. A confident Mexico team played Sweden in the final game of the group stage. Germany played to stay alive in the World Cup and to continue their quest to repeat as World Cup champs. Both games were played at the same time to avoid any advantages to any of the qualifying teams.
Mexico vs. Sweden
Both teams took the pitch, as they both knew a victory would entitle them to win the group and play a potentially weaker opponent in the knock out stage. Both teams generated danger and the goalkeepers maintained their clean sheet into half-time. During the second half, Mexico potentially beat themselves. The costly mistakes were capitalized by the Sweden team.
Only five minutes into the second half and Mexico found themselves trailing. Costly mistakes enlarged the score, and at the 90th minute, Sweden walked away with a 3-0 victory. This victory locks the first place in the group for Sweden, as they qualify for the second round. At this point, Mexico was depending on a Germany tie or loss in order to make it to the next round. Germany was playing against Korea, who potentially was the weakest team in the group.
Germany vs. Korea Republic
Germany, the clear favorite in this match, generated danger early on, but could not make it count. Wide shots by both teams kept the score 0-0 through the first half. The second half continued in the same manner, with both teams generating excellent opportunities, but the ball failed to hit the net. The game appeared to be heading into a scoreless draw, but in the 92nd minute of play, the hero of the night scored the first goal of the match.
Kim Young-Gwon received a pass near the penalty spot and scored. The play was reviewed due to a possible offside call, which was overturned by the referee. Korea went up 1-0, and with this, gave Mexico the qualification into the next round. Germany pulled their goalie in an attempt to tie the match; however, the Korean team capitalized and scored the second goal of the day.
Korea takes home the 2-0 victory and in turn sends Germany home. Mexico benefited by this victory as they qualified for the next round.
Round of 16
The next round of the World Cup is slowly falling into place. The following matches are set as of today, and I will provide a projected winner.
France vs. Argentina – France wins
Uruguay vs. Portugal – Portugal wins
Brazil vs. Mexico – This one can go either way, but my projection is Mexico wins due to Brazil’s struggles early on
Spain vs. Russia – Russia wins
Croatia vs. Denmark – Croatia wins
Sweden vs. Switzerland – Switzerland wins
Stay tuned for more World Cup action, as the quest for this year’s champion continues. I had Brazil as my pick to win it all, but a motivated Mexican team may cause an upset.