So, after all the build up, the World Cup draw is done. Nice and simple, with little of the usual razzmatazz and no dancing monkeys or supermodels. Just what it should be, a draw. Thirty-two balls being pulled out of a number of bowls. Having avoided the likes of Spain, England and Serbia, Germany have been given a challenging, but workable group.
There will be a more in-depth report soon, but for now let us stick to the basics.
Drawn from Pot 1, defending champions Germany were placed into Group F – giving them an opening fixture in Moscow followed by matches in Sochi and Kazan. All familiar locations after the recent confederations cup, which was a nice little bonus for those fans who might have been there this summer.
In Pot 2, there were a few dangers. 2010 champions Spain for one, and old foes England. Thankfully both of these threats were avoided, with Mexico making their way into Germany’s group as the second team in the group order. This means a repeat of some classic past World Cup meetings, the most recent of which was in France in 1998. Germany’s opening match, at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium.
Pot 3 presented Sweden, which gave Jogi Löw’s team two goal-packed matches in qualifying for Brazil 2014. The teams last met in the World Cup finals in 2006, where Mannschaft eased to a 2-0 win. It will be tough, but it could have been Italy. Think about that. Sweden are Germany’s second opponents, and both teams will line up against each other in the southern resort city of Sochi.
Finally, another blast from the past. Asian contenders and tournament regulars South Korea gave the Germans a bit of a scare in the group stage in 1994 and fought tooth and nail in the semi-final in 2002, and will be the Mannschaft’s final opponents in Kazan.
v Mexico (Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, 17.06.2018 18:00 MSK)
v Sweden (Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi, 23.06.2018 18:00 MSK)
v South Korea (Kazan Arena, Kazan, 27.06.2018 17:00 MSK)