South Korea vs Germany: World Cup 2018 Match Preview
Toni Kroos’ dramatic late goal against Sweden on Saturday night has entirely altered the complexion of Group F, with Germany now in pole position to join Mexico in the knockout phase. South Korea, meanwhile, need a miracle if they are to finish above the reigning world champions and Sweden in second spot.
A draw would have left Germany in a perilous position ahead of Wednesday’s showdown, but Kroos’ heroics mean their fate is back in their own hands. Joachim Low’s men did not play well against Sweden, though, struggling to fashion clear-cut scoring opportunities and again affording their opponents’ too much space on the counter.
A squad containing the likes of Kroos, Marco Reus, Timo Werner, Julian Draxler, Mesut Ozil, Mario Gomez, Thomas Muller and Julian Brandt has a multitude of attacking stars to call upon, though, and it would take a brave bettor to write the Germans off. Yet while that late goal will give the holders great belief going forward, they will know that another poor performance from this point onwards will likely spell the end of their World Cup campaign.
South Korea not clinical enough
South Korea were beaten by a single goal for the second game running last time out, going down 2-1 to Mexico and leaving themselves on the brink of an early elimination for the second tournament in a row.
After a flat and uninspiring performance in their opening match, a 1-0 loss to Sweden, the Taeguk Warriors were much improved in their second outing in Russia, causing Mexico problems on the counter-attack and creating a handful of good chances before Son Heung-min’s late consolation strike.
South Korea were not clinical enough in and around the penalty area, though, and their physical approach did not have the desired effect against a quick, sprightly Mexico side. It would, frankly, require a remarkable turn of events for the Koreans to qualify from this position: not only do they need to beat Germany, they must also hope Mexico overcome Sweden and that they themselves overturn a -2 goal difference.
Backing a German win to nil
The one slight glimmer of hope for Shin Tae-yong’s side is that the Mannschaft have looked extremely vulnerable to quick breaks forward, which is their preferred method of attack. South Korea will look to free Son in behind the German backline with balls over the top, but they must also showcase better defensive organisation than they have managed up to now. Goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo must also be at the top of his game once more, having caught the eye with solid showings against both Mexico and Sweden.
The manner of Germany’s defeat of the Swedes will raise the mood in the camp ahead of this clash, but their overall display did not remove the doubts surrounding this team. Nevertheless, Low’s charges will almost certainly prove too strong for the Koreans, so consider backing a German win to nil here (1.82).
By Greg Lea
After many years of sports writing with emphasis on football, including a stint at Sky Sports, Greg is here to help you with betting tips. Follow him on Twitter @greglea to get the latest updates before placing your bets.