2018 FIFA WC: Germany vs Mexico all you need to know about these two teams

XtraTime Web Desk: The defending champions Germany will face Mexico in their first match of 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow. They are one of the favourites to win the World Cup; the strength in depth is remarkable. They won the Confederations Cup last summer in Russia with half of the first team rested.

Mexico has reached the last 16 of the past six World Cups and the nation expects them to get out of the group this time too.



The midfield is a smorgasbord of talented players with Toni Kroos, Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil and Thomas Müller hopeful of a starting berth. Leroy Sané didn't even make the squad.


There is possibly a lack of leadership in the squad compared with the last World Cup when Joachim Low had players such as Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm, and Per Mertesacker to count on.


Manuel Neuer: Arguably the world’s best sweeper-keeper, but he nearly missed out. Repeated foot fractures meant his physical and mental readiness were the focus of pre-tournament and led to a mix-up when media reported he was trying a new blood therapy, leading anti-doping officers to intervene.

Defensive mainstay

Jerome Boateng: There was a time when Jerome was overshadowed by his older half-brother Kevin-Prince. Not so much these days. Spectacular in the 2014 World Cup final, the center-back has overcome a series of injuries to reach Russia 2018 and remains a key component.

Star Player

Toni Kroos: Known as “The Surgeon” in Spain for his clinical passing, it’s a talent that was never more obvious than during Germany’s 7-1 win over Brazil in 2014, which showed just what a bad idea it is to give him time and space.

Young talent

Timo Werner: Likely to be the first-choice striker in Germany’s preferred 4-2-3-1. Much faster than Joachim Low’s other options, Mario Gomez and Sandro Wagner, and well suited to quick passing football. He scored 8 goals already in 14 matches.



The attack looks potent with Javier Hernandez the obvious focal point but the PSV Eindhoven winger Hirving Lozano may well prove to be an even bigger threat.


Osorio has not yet found his ideal No 6, with Hector Herrera often leaving too much space between defense and midfield, which the opposition can exploit.


Guillermo Ochoa: Produced what many thoughts was the best save of the 2014 World Cup, stopping Neymar's header with cat-like reflexes - a moment compared to Gordon Banks versus Pelé in 1970. He’s a brilliant shot-stopper, has great mental strength, but his weak point is in the air. He should be first-choice in Russia, as he was in the Copa América and Confederations Cup last year, despite strong competition from Jesús Corona.


Rafael Márquez: If he plays in this, his fifth World Cup, he will match the achievement of Lothar Matthäus, Gianluigi Buffon and his compatriot Antonio Carbajal. He was captain in the previous four and scored in three of them (2006, 2010 and 2014). He is one of his country’s most famous players, partly due to his time at Barcelona, where he played alongside a young Lionel Messi. He played 145 matches and scored 15 goals.

Star player

Javier Hernández: The leading scorer in the history of the national team, but his relationship with the fans is love-hate. He’s capable of generating both the highest praise and the sharpest criticism. The former Manchester United and Real Madrid forward will be at his third World Cup, having scored in the last two. He will look to score his 50 th goal as early as possible as he already got 49 goals in his 102 caps for his national team.

Young talent

Hirving Lozano: Mexico fans have the highest expectations for Lozano. He just had his best year with PSV, where he won the league and scored 17 goals in 29 games. His wing play will be vital in Russia, with the change of pace his biggest weapon, and his temperament is his biggest weakness. The forward played 28 matches wearing national jersey and scored 7 goals.

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