Big Match Breakdown: South Korea v Germany
Reigning champions still need a result
It’s crunch time in Group F today, especially as it’s the only World Cup group where all four sides can still go through or go out.
Everything really is up for grabs, and that includes reigning champions Germany.
After losing 1-0 to Mexico in their opening game, Toni Kroos dug his nation out of a hole with a crucial and stunning injury-time winner against Sweden.
But they’ll still need something against South Korea to be sure of progression. And the Asian nation know that a shock victory could also pitch them through if results go their way between Mexico and Sweden.
This will actually be the fourth meeting between these two nations, and the third in World Cup history.
The first came at USA ’94, where German won 3-2 after going 3-0 up inside 37 minutes.
But things were much closer when the South Korean’s co-hosted in 2002. They held their own for much of the game before a late winner from Michael Ballack.
The South Koreans got their own back though in a 3-1 friendly win in 2004.
Germany boss Joachim Low dropped Mesut Ozil for Marco Reus in the second game, and with the latter grabbing a goal, Reus could be set to hold his starting place.
Low will be without the suspended Jerome Boateng at centre-half, although it appears Mats Hummels should be fit in time.
Sebastian Rudy is ruled out however, so Sami Khedira is expected to return.
South Korea boss Shin Tae-yong has already made numerous changes in the tournament, particularly in midfield and attack.
He must decide who to pair up front with Son Heung-min. Kim Shin-wook, Hwang Hee-chan and Lee Jae-sung are his options.
Equally, South Korea have used 4-3-3 and 4-4-2 in Russia, so there’s a decision to be made there too.
Germany haven’t really shown their full quality so far. But knowing that they can’t afford to hold anything back today, they could come out blazing.
Can South Korea cope with that? It would be a big ask.
But the Asian side have seen Sweden and Mexico frustrate the Germans to great effect. It’s clear they struggle to break down defences and they’re leaving themselves exposed on the counter.
That’s where South Korea and Son will have to focus their strategies.
A draw could see both sides go out, so neither team can afford to sit back.
If South Korea are to follow the Mexico and Sweden blueprint, though, then there’s 15/4 about them being the first team to score.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing