Leeds United’s Ponuts Jansson and Sweden will be facing off against some difficult teams in World Cup Group F, as the Swedes will face defending champion Germany, North American powerhouse Mexico, and South Korea this summer in Russia.
While many of the groups appear to be difficult, especially Group B with both Spain and Portugal, Sweden were unlucky to draw defending champion Germany as the other European team in their group. They will also face off against Mexico from the CONCACAF region, easily the most skilled and talented team from that region with the United States failing to qualify. And while not many South Korea footballers be household names in the UK, South Korea did make the semi-finals of the 2002 World Cup, and will be looking to advance as well.
Germany will be considered one of the favorites in the tournament, with Germany returning many of its stars from their victory in Brazil in 2014. The team is lead by Thomas Müller, Mats Hummels, Toni Kroos, and Mesut Özil. Anything less than an appearance in the semi-finals would likely be seen as a disappointment for German fans.
Mexico will be considered the other favorite in Group F. While the most famous Mexican footballer in England right now is probably West Ham United’s Javier Hernández, a name to look out for is striker Hirving Lozano who plays for PSV Eindhoven in the Eredivisie. Former PSV, Valencia, and Deportivo La Coruña player Andrés Guardado, who now plays for Real Betis in La Liga, will captain the side at the World Cup. Mexico will be dreading playing Germany in their Group, as they struggled at the Confederations Cup against a weakened Germany team, so if Mexico are to put the idea that they are “pretenders” to a strong World Cup finish, they will be looking to finish either first or second in this group.
South Korea’s most known European player right now is probably Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min. Swansea City’s Ki Sung-yueng will also probably make the trip to Russia, as well as Crystal Palace’s Lee Chung-yong. South Korea struggled to make an impact at the last World Cup in Brazil, so look for them to be motivated to at least make some noise in Russia.
Sweden have a difficult group ahead of them, and we wish Jansson and his countrymen all the best.