World Cup: Group F drama, Brazil and Switzerland discover opponents

Group F was settled Wednesday with Sweden and Mexico (El Tri) advancing to the World Cup’s Round of 16.

Defending champions Germany were eliminated in group stages after losing 2-0 to South Korea. The Asians defeat of the Germans lifted Mexico to second place despite losing 3-0 to Sweden in Ekaterinburg.

In Kazan, the defending champions frustrations continued as Kim Younggwon and Son Heungmin lifted the Koreans to their only win of the tournament. Germany end the summer last place in of the section and become the fourth defending champion in a row to bounce out in the first round.

Fortunate Mexico

El Tri were poor in their final group stage match. The North Americans came into the game needing a draw to avoid elimination but chances not taken helped Sweden take control at the Ekaterinburg Stadium.

A chance from El Tri’s Carlos Vela in the 17th minute went wide of goalkeeper Robin Olsen’s net. The more wasteful Mexico were, the greater Sweden’s confidence developed. In the second half, a chance fell at the second post for a lonely Ludwig Augustinsson who dispatched past Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.

The 1-0 scoreline rattled the Mexicans and were no longer as calm and efficient with possession. The Swedes would go on to score a penalty kick then Mexico’s Edson Alvarez would score an own goal to make it 3-0 to the Europeans.

It was a recipe for disaster for El Tri. Lucky for them, Younggwon and Heungmin came to the rescue against Germany.

It was a nervy day for El Tri and a lesson to be learned. Manager Juan Carlos Osorio fielded an unchanged squad again Wednesday which means legs may be getting tired and a new style must be adopted.

Group E meets Group F

Monday in Samara will bring one of the most mouthwatering encounters of the Round of 16 phase. Brazil defeated Serbia 2-0 Wednesday and with that meant top slot in Group E and a knockout round encounter with Mexico.

Group F winners Sweden earn themselves a matchup against Switzerland Tuesday in St. Petersburg.

In Samara, a high tempo match will be expected. Both squads enjoy possession and both line-ups are lightning quick.

In St. Petersburg, expect the contrary. The Swiss and Swedes are a disciplined pair. Sweden love playing the ball in the air to use its physicality while Switzerland apply a pensive style to pry through.