Jimenez aiming high with Wolves

Striker Raul Jimenez has his sights set on helping Wolves build on a fine first season back in the Premier League, having signed on permanently at Molineux.

The 27-year-old Mexico international has scored 15 goals in 37 appearances in all competitions since arriving from Benfica last summer on a season-long loan.

And his success has been rewarded with a long-term stay which extends all the way to the summer of 2023, with the efforts of Jimenez having helped Wolves enjoy a superb season to date.

The men from Molineux currently stand in seventh place in the Premier League table and have also progressed through to the semi-finals of the FA Cup, where they will face Watford – at Wembley on Sunday.

Jimenez told the official Wolves website: "I've enjoyed my time here. We've had some good moments, some bad moments; but the best ones have been so good and I'm very happy for that.

"I want to make history here at the club. With my team-mates, I want to put the club back into the top places in the Premier League. I think we all want that and have that ambition.

"For myself personally, I want to keep scoring for the rest of the time I am here and that's going to be my main goal."

Jimenez, who has already scored in FA Cup wins over Liverpool and Manchester United this season, is 6/4 to find the net at any time on Sunday, with Wolves 7/10 to reach the final at the expense of the Hornets.

Meanwhile, Wanderers are 4/1 to lift the FA Cup for the first time since 1960.

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International Friendly Argentina vs Mexico: Repeat or Revenge?

Argentina vs Mexico

The doubleheader between Argentina and Mexico is set to come to a close at the Estadio Malvinas Argentina, and both teams will look to get an all-important win as they continue to gear up for their upcoming international competitions.

Argentina won the first game comfortably, so they will be brimming with confidence as they head to this affair. However, they know very well not to underestimate a wounded beast—particularly one with such a proud football history as Mexico.

This International Friendly Argentina vs Mexico match may not be the head-turner type that would excite football fans around the globe. But make no mistake, the passion for the game and hunger for victory will be overflowing.

Talking Points

No Messi, No Problem!

It’s safe to say Argentina are adjusting well to life without Lionel Messi.

The little magician—as he hinted before, during and after last summer’s World Cup—might have already played his last game for the Argentines, and La Albiceleste are already preparing for the future without the man who led them to the World Cup final four years ago.

Argentina have won three of their last five fixtures after the quadrennial affair, losing only once against a full-strength Brazil squad that boasted the likes of Neymar, Roberto Firmino, Gabriel Jesus and Philippe Coutinho.

They played out a goalless draw against Colombia in September, but they did win against the likes of Guatemala and Iraq (the latter to the tune of four goals to nothing).

La Albiceleste hopes for a back-to-back win when they battle in the International Friendly Argentina vs Mexico match

Argentina players celebrate after claiming a 0-2 victory during a friendly match against Mexico

The first of the doubleheader against El Tri also saw Argentina dominate and come out 2-0 winners. Ramiro Funes Mori’s 44th-minute strike and a late own goal from Isaac Brizuela gave the hosts the win, but the likes of Paulo Dybala, Giovani Lo Celso and Nicolas Tagliafico all threatened.

Consistency remains an issue for the team, but there’s no doubt they are off to a solid start in the post-Messi era.

What’s up with the Mexican defence?

The biggest problem for Mexico is their seemingly absent defence. El Tri have already lost four of their last five outings, and their horrendous backline is the culprit.

Mexico have conceded in all of their matches after the World Cup, averaging two goals allowed during that stretch.

While one can say that the inexperience of the team is the reason for the defensive miscues, it should be noted that their backline that features Luis Rodriguez, Diego Reyes and Nestor Araujo could be the same group that they will field in the 2019 Gold Cup.

Defence is something they can’t develop overnight, but Mexico interim manager Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti needs to find a way to lessen the damage it causes. Besides, they showed some grit defensively against Argentina before it petered out late in the first half.

Final battle of the caretakers

Interim boss Lionel Scaloni eye for a back-to-back win in the International Friendly Argentina vs Mexico fixture

Argentina interim manager Lionel Scaloni instructs his players during a friendly match against Mexico

Another storyline to watch in the game is the battle of the caretaker managers. Argentina’s Lionel Scaloni is only the interim manager, and while the national team players want him to take the job permanently, the 40-year-old said he doesn’t want to look too far ahead and has admitted his focus is on the Under-20 team.

Meanwhile, for Ferretti, this game will likely be his last as caretaker of the Mexican team. According to latest reports, Gerardo Martino is slated to take over the squad come 2019. With that said, Ferretti would undoubtedly like to produce a good performance at Mendoza for his successor to build on.

Mexico’s results haven’t been good under Ferretti, but fans and pundits alike know the manager’s focus is not getting wins but developing the national team’s youngsters.

It will be interesting to see how the two managers will line up their squads and what tactical adjustments will they make after the results of the first game. Moreover, the possibility that this match-up could be their last against their respective national teams should add drama to it.

History

The previous Argentina-vs-Mexico results have gone largely in favour of the South American side. Out of 33 meetings overall, the Argentines won 14 times and played out a draw on 14 other occasions. The Mexicans, meanwhile, won only five times against them.

Even more remarkable for Argentina (and ominous for Mexico), they haven’t lost against El Tri since their Copa America meeting in 2004. That means Argentina have been unbeaten versus the North American team in their eight fixtures in the past 13 years.

Mexico did hold Argentina to a 2-2 draw in a 2015 friendly, but that was the best result they could muster in their recent head-to-head encounters.

Here’s one often overlooked tidbit though: Argentina have scored at least two goals in their past six matches, with a 1-4 friendly victory in 2008 being the most noteworthy. Messi found the net in that game too!

Betting Tip

??
Argentina vs Mexico Argentina Correct Score 2-1 @ 7.20
November 21, 08:00 (GMT+8)

The Argentina-Mexico betting odds at us suggest a one-sided affair; however, I don’t think that will be the case.

Both teams and their managers surely learned a lot from their previous fight, so I expect them to make adjustments and deliver a more intense battle this time around.

I think Argentina will win, but I believe Mexico can score and make life a little difficult for the home team.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (??) BETS ARE WORTH:
?? = €20 (Highly confident) ?? = €10 (CONFIDENT) ?? = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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International Friendly: Argentina Stroll to Victory

Argentina 2-0 Mexico

Argentina put in a dominant display in Cordoba to beat Mexico thanks to a first-half header from Ramiro Funes Mori and a late own goal.

Both coaches put out experimental teams for this international friendly match, and it was Lionel Scaloni’s Argentina which looked more ready for the international stage in a period of transition for both nations.

Argentina needs to get used to life without Lionel Messi, after he hinted the defeat to France in this year’s World Cup may be his last international appearance. Interim coach Scaloni hopes the Barca man may have a change of heart. But he’s retired before, of course, back in 2016 and has never had the best of relationships with Argentina fans who think he cares more for club than country.

Maybe Argentina can survive and thrive without the little genius, and on this evidence, they have plenty to work with. Spurs fans will have seen on the international friendly results that their new centre back, Juan Foyth, had been handed a debut. In Giovani Lo Celso, Argentina has a creative player bang in form in La Liga.

They certainly had too much for Mexico.

Highlights of the game

Mexico and Argentina are both in action during the international friendly match at Cordoba

Mexico’s Angel Zaldivar fights for the ball with Argentina’s Ramiro Funes Mori during the international friendly match

Mexico’s interim coach, Ricardo Ferretti, put out an inexperienced team to face Argentina — and that shifted the international friendly odds further towards the hosts. However,El Tri almost sprung a surprise in the second minute when Marco Fabian crossed for Raul Jimenez and the Wolves’ man’s header crashed against the bar.

That was it for Mexico as the rest of the entertainment at the Estadio Mario Alberto Kempes came from the hosts. Scaloni had plenty of talent at his disposal, including Juventus’ world class striker Paulo Dybala and Giovani Lo Celso. The PSG man is impressing on loan at Real Betis after having an outstanding game in Betis’ recent 4-3 win over Barca. He had Argentina’s first effort from distance, which was charged down.

A flurry of chances followed. The impressive Nicolas Tagliafico had a header blocked from a cross by Marcos Acuna, and then Lo Celso put in Dybala but the Juve man’s effort was saved. Renzo Saravia tried a shot from a difficult angle, and as the pressure on Mexico’s defence intensified, the breakthrough came just before half time.

Giovani Lo Celso got the better of, and then was fouled by Erick Gutierrez. Dybala’s superb dead ball delivery found Funes Mori for the Villarreal centre back to plant his header down into the bottom corner, giving the Mexico keeper no chance.

The pattern continued in the second half as Dybala shot just over. And as Mexico made a rare trip into Argentina’s penalty area, Angel Zaldivar headed wide. Lo Celso and Dybala continued to combine well, but when the second goal came, it came from an unexpected source of them was involved.

Mexico substitute Isaac Brizuela had only been on the pitch four minutes when he made a real impact, but unfortunately for Mexico he put through his own net on 83 minutes to give the score line a more realistic look.

Key statistics

Four places currently separate Argentina and Mexico in the FIFA rankings with El Tri in 16th, while Argentina is 12th. On this evidence, I would say the gap is widening.

El Tri had more possession, at 55 per cent, but didn’t produce much of any note after the second minute. With only three shots in the entire 90 minutes, it was a toothless display by Ferretti’s men as they looked short of ideas without the likes of Javier Hernandez. Argentina, with 15 shots and more creative players, were able to pick them off.

Both sides were protective of the ball with 85 per cent passing accuracy, but Argentina made more key passes with 11 to Mexico’s three. So you can have the ball all you like, but it’s what you do with it that counts.

What’s next?

There was plenty of head scratching in the Argentina camp, after a frustrating campaign in Russia, but there was plenty in this game to be encouraged about.

The two teams meet again next week, and Mexico coach Ferretti has admitted his side would have to improve before their second meeting or he can expect the same result.

Early next year, Argentina has the Superclasico de La Americas against Brazil to look forward to, and we’ll be there with us for that clash of two world greats.

Mexico’s next challenge is the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup and by then Ferretti will hope to have found a better balance in his side.

 

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International Friendly Argentina vs Mexico: Can El Tri Stop a Football Powerhouse?

Argentina vs Mexico

Any game involving one of the best teams in world football is worthy of attention among the sporting press. They have some of the best footballers in the world ready to answer the call of La Albiceleste.

Their next opponents aren’t exactly drawing a lot of buzz in the media, but International Friendly: Argentina vs Mexico is a game that promises brilliant footballing action from these football-crazy nations.

It’s been announced that both teams won’t be able to play the players that stomped their way through Russia, but we can expect some good football to come out of these two nations when they play each other at the Estadio Mario Alberto KEmpes in Cordoba.

There are still questions that riddle our mind, though. Will El Tri be able to thrive without a person to actually take the shots from the sideline? How will Argentina perform with their talisman still not participating in their games?

Talking Points

Can Mexico Bounce Back?

Hirving Lozano out of Ricardo Ferretti's team for the International Friendly Argentina vs Mexico game

Mexico’s coach Ricardo Ferretti talks to his player Hirving Lozano

Any fan who watched Mexico’s performance in the recently concluded World Cup could not blame El Tri‘s performance in the competition. While they were looked upon to make a good run in the competition, not a lot of people saw them beating a Brazil side that boasted names such as Neymar, Paulinho, Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino in their side.

The Mexican FA hoped to keep their head coach, Juan Carlos Osorio, in the squad for another World Cup cycle, but he has decided to cut free from the program and consider his options moving forward. The man currently holding down the fort for Mexico is Ricardo Ferretti, and some fans may have qualms about his leadership style.

The Brazilian has made the curious decision to exclude players such as Hector Herrera, Hector Moreno, Javier Hernandez and Andres Guardado from the side has raised more than a couple of eyebrows. The four are easily the best players in the squad, and excluding them in the Argentina games will only make things challenging for El Tri.

However, the Brazilian gaffer seemed to have considered the exhaustion some of his biggest stars would endure from making the trip. Moreover, it seems like the caretaker boss would like to give youngsters such as Erick Aguirre, Gerardo Arteaga and Edson Alvarez opportunities to impress for the national team.

Ferretti is making some big gambles ahead of this game, and he should have no grand illusion that things will still be easy without Messi. But he will definitely look like a genius if his team pulls off a superb win here.

Can Argentina Show They Can Live Without Messi?

There’s no secret that Lionel Messi is Argentina. The thought of not seeing the minute magician do his thing on the pitch for La Albiceleste is weird, but that’s the hand we’ve been dealt as football fans. Messi still hasn’t returned to the side, and the Argentina FA said their ace is still not over their disappointing World Cup run.

Things have gone well for Argentina ever since their embarrassing World Cup exit to France in the summer, getting a positive result in three of their first games since the tournament. However, their latest loss against Brazil showed just how big of a hole Messi left on the team when it comes to attacking options.

Messi’s absence and Argentina’s narrow loss against Brazil aren’t the only things interim manager Lionel Scaloni has to worry about ahead of this match. He will have to play without Nicolas Otamendi, Eduardo Salvio and Matias Zaracho. That adds to the talent drain as he would have to play without Messi, Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria and Gonzalo Higuain.

However, this is a golden opportunity for players like Paulo Dybala, Mauro Icardi, Nicolas Tagliafico, Giovani Lo Celso and Roberto Pereyra to step up and lead the team to victories. If this iteration of La Abliceleste manages to pull off a strong result against Mexico, then the places left behind by Messi and company will be at risk.

History

Argentina vs Mexico results have always favoured the hosts as they have always been the bigger footballing nation. La Abliceleste‘s 13 wins over Mexico’s two have shown the difference in class the two nations have displayed over the years.

Their recent forms also suggest good things for the hosts. Brazil was the only friendly loss Argentina endured ever since their World Cup exit, and they managed to snag seven goals in four games. Meanwhile, El Tri only won against Costa Rica and had to endure painful defeats against Uruguay, the United States and Chile.

Betting Tip

??
Argentina vs Mexico Over 2.50 Goals @ 2.21
November 17, 08:00 (GMT+8)

Leading bookies like us have given tight Argentina vs Mexico odds as there isn’t much separating the two nations when it comes to the current talent drain they have. However, it cannot be denied that the overall quality of players available for Argentina are too high to deny, and it’s not hard to see the Albiceleste coming out at the top.

However, I think the best bet here is the Over Under market. The last four games between the two sides have seen at least three goals happen, and I don’t doubt this happening again this time around. Argentina should have enough quality in their locker to at least make at least three goals, and I see Mexico taking at least a consolation goal.

However, if you are looking for more interesting markets, the Asian Handicap market and the Total Goals market has some very interesting odds.

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?? = €20 (Highly confident) ?? = €10 (CONFIDENT) ?? = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

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Pellegrini offers Hernandez support

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini expects Mexico and former Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez to be a major players for the Hammers this season.

The 30-year-old frontman struggled to make an impact in his first season at the London Stadium, scoring eight goals in 28 Premier League appearances, although 12 of those outings came as a substitute.

And Pellegrini says he has spoken to Hernandez to assure him that there is a big future for him with the Irons, despite talk of a possible summer move away from the club.

He told reporters: "I spoke with Javier before he played the World Cup when I signed here and I told him that he would be a very important player here with me."

Pellegrini and the Hammers have been busy in the transfer market this summer, signing goalkeeper Laukasz Fabianski, defenders Issa Diop, Ryan Fredericks and Fabian Balbuena, midfielders Felipe Anderson and Jack Wilshere and forward Andriy Yarmolenko.

And Pellegrini is eager to get the maximum out of former Arsenal schemer Wilshere, as he hopes to help the England international avoid the sort of injury problems which have stalled his career.

He added: "Undoubtedly he had quite a few injuries in the past, but the season he played at Bournemouth he played a lot of games. Last season he did not have too many injuries.

"We are trying to do a different thing with him so he can be comfortable and not to try to play every game of the season, because he must work in a different way."

West Ham are available at 5/4 to finish in the top half of the Premier League table this season, while they are 4/7 to finish in the bottom half.

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Can Mexico Stop the Biggest Favourites of the World Cup 2018?

Brazil vs Mexico

The knockout games of the World Cup 2018 are finally underway, and we are already treated to a fantastic result. Lionel Messi may have played his final international game after Argentina spectacularly failed against a red-hot Kylian Mbappe.

However, The France-Argentina game isn’t the only World Cup 2018 game worth a watch for many neutral football fans. Mexico will face Brazil next, and this match promises equal amounts of action and goals!

Brazil will be coming into the match as overwhelming favourites. Not only did the Canarinha top a rather challenging Group E, they also have the likes of Neymar, Coutinho and Roberto Firmino ready to smack some goals in.

However, I don’t think Mexico will just lay around and let the squad favoured by many World Cup 2018 predictions make the quarter-finals without breaking a sweat. El Tri have played a fantastic World Cup and will look to impress.

It’s very likely that Brazil will make it through this match, but this year’s World Cup has been an underdog’s tournament. I honestly won’t be surprised if the Brazilians join the Argentines in returning to South America empty-handed.

Talking Points

FIFA 2018: Can Chicharito lead Mexico in quarter finals?

Mexico eyes another win after their epic victory vs Germany

This game doesn’t lag behind the other knockout games when it comes to the quality of World Cup 2018 news available. There are interesting things to talk about in the lead-up to this all-important clash.

Mexico had an interesting tumble during the group stage. They started off strong and held a strong but very disappointing German side to a very impressive 1-0 victory. They followed their performance with a strong 2-0 win against Korea Republic.

Many of the El Tri faithful broke into nervous sweats when Sweden mowed the pitch with their squad. Fortunately for them, the Taegeuk Warriors pulled off a most remarkable upset that sent them to the knockout stages. Mexicans were so happy that they reached out to the Korean ambassador to Mexico and made him drink tequila while lifting him on their shoulders.

Hirving Lozano, Carlos Vela and Javier Hernandez have performed brilliantly for Mexico, and Juan Osorio will definitely be counting on these three to push the tempo of the Mexican offence in the hopes of pulling off another brilliant upset out of their sombreros.

However, they know that the Samba Boys are anything but an easy challenge. Tite has a plethora of outstanding stars that can match them on every attack they will attempt. Neymar is still the man to beware among the Brazilian yellow, but Philippe Coutinho, Paulinho, Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino can also pull goals for Brazil.

Mexico captain Andres Guardado knows the threat Neymar poses and will surely make him a defensive priority for the Mexicans. However, he threw barbs his way, criticising the star’s tendency to excessively sell fouls. He believes that the VAR (Video Assistant Referees) will help make things fairer in their favour.

If they can contain Neymar to limited runs with his touches, Mexico would have nullified a great Brazilian weapon. However, the trickiness of the Brazilians doesn’t end with Neymar. If they cannot stop the rest of the Canarinha and mount dangerous counters of their own, they might as well book their tickets back home at the most convenient time.

While the stigma of losing 7-1 to Germany is still hard to erase, it’s hard to deny that Brazil still have a very outstanding group. They are still the team to beat in this World Cup.

History

These two countries have faced each other 40 times since first meeting in 1950, and Brazil won 23 of those engagements. The Canarinha‘s most recent victory over El Tri was a comfortable 2-0 in 2015, wherein Philippe Coutinho and Diego Tardelli settled the game in the first half.

However, the most recent results don’t show how well Mexico have performed against Brazil as of late. Their last World Cup meeting was in 2014 in the group stage. The Mexicans managed to hold Brazil to a scoreless draw despite strong attacking from the hosts and a very hostile crowd at Estadio Castelao.

Mexico will be hoping to end their winless streak against the South American juggernauts, and a win here would be a great morale boost for their World Cup aspirations. They have a better chance with Osorio, who has a good grasp of Brazilian football during his stint in the country.

However, his knowledge of the Brazilian game would amount to nothing if Lozano, Vela and Chicharito do not convert their attacks to goals.

What are the odds?

us odds are backing Brazil to win against Mexico

Philippe Coutinho eyes victory with Brazil vs Mexico

us has interesting betting odds on offer for this game, especially if you believe in a grand Mexican upset.

Brazil are justifiably the giant favourites, with their 1X2 odds only amounting to 1.50. If you believe in a 2-0 result in favour of the Canarinha, a -1.25 Asian Handicap comes with 2.21 odds.

However, It’s not bad to hope for a giant killing to happen in this place. Mexico 1X2 is at a whopping 6.80. However, I think El Tri will be able to steal a brilliant goal in the first half before falling gloriously against a raging Brazilian comeback. Mexico’s First Half 1X2 odds of 5.20 is also an attractive option.

With both teams showing brilliant attacking football, it wouldn’t be hard to see goals coming here in bunches. Over 2.75 Goals is an attractive choice at 2.38.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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No Zlatan? No Problem! Sweden Top World Cup 2018 Group F!

Mexico 0-3 Sweden

World Cup 2018‘s Group F joined Groups A, B, C and D in determining which nations would be making it past the group stages and into the knockout rounds. At first, it seemed clear-cut that Germany would be the heavy favourites to make it out at the top since the 2014 champions fielded such a strong team for the biggest tournament in world football.

However, this group turned out to become one of the most surprising in the tournament. Korea Republic defied the World Cup 2018 odds by pulling off an upset for the ages and sending Germany home after a shocking 2-0 victory. Meanwhile, Sweden impressed and showed their class as they overpowered Mexico in their last game in the group stage.

However, this game only showed Juan Carlos Osorio and the rest of El Tricolor which areas they need to improve if they want to make a deep run in this World Cup.

Highlights of the game

Both countries knew the importance of winning their first game, and they played the game with every intention of taking the points for themselves. Jesus Gallardo got a bit too passionate in helping Mexico snag three straight wins as he got one of the quickest yellow cards in the tournament: Nestor Pitana immediately slapped him with a booking for a rough challenge.

The Blaugult had an early shot attempt in the sixth minute when Emil Forsberg took a free kick in a dangerous position for Sweden. The RB Leipzig midfielder took the shot, only to see Mexico keeper Guillermo Ochoa save the ball.

Marcus Berg also had a good chance to give Sweden the early lead. A corner saw the ball drift towards his direction. He unleashed an impressive bicycle kick to elicit some ooh’s and ahh’s from the crowd, but his effort went just wide of the post.

Carlos Vela, one of the team’s stars in their outstanding victory over South Korea, had a chance to put Mexico on the board with a shot attempt within 25 yards that went just wide. Emil Forsberg also fired a volley that went way above the crossbar.

A bit of controversy that required VAR assistance happened in the 29th minute. Javier Hernandez apparently handled the ball inside the penalty box during a clearance. Some Sweden players and Janne Andersson cried foul, forcing Pitana to review the play. He decided to not give Sweden the penalty after reviewing the game footage.

Nothing much happened for the remainder of the first half as both nations were held scoreless for much of the half. El Tri had a lot of the ball but were unable to do anything with it. Meanwhile, Sweden were only a few precise strikes away from scoring.

World Cup 2018: Ludwig Augustinsson and Sweden enter knockout round as top team from Group F

Ludwig Augustinsson is Man of the Match after steering to win over Mexico

Andersson seems to have made the proper adjustments during the break as the Swedes strike first during within the first 10 minutes of the second half. Ludwig Augustinsson found the goal after a brilliant lob found the Weder Bremen man on the left-hand side of the goal alone. He powered the ball past Ochoa and finished with ease.

Sweden were given a chance to double their lead after Hector Moreno made a terrible challenge at their own penalty box in the 61st minute. Sweden captain Andreas Granqvist took the shot and slotted it coolly to the top-right corner for the second Swedish goal.

Mexico’s suffering didn’t end there, however. Viktor Claesson threw a long ball into the Mexican penalty box in the 74th minute to provide a scoring opportunity. A header saw the ball stumble towards Omar Velazquez’s thigh, catching Ochoa off guard to concede an own goal.

The game ended with a shocking 3-0 score. Velazquez understandably broke down and cried after the game, thinking that their chance for making it past the group stages was lost. However, the Ekaterinburg Arena became full of Swedish and Mexican cheers as both sides learned that they will be making it out of Group F.

Key statistics

Mexico have made it past the group stage for the seventh straight time, thanks to favourable World Cup 2018 results. They will be trying to make it to the quarter-finals, a feat they have only done during the World Cups where they were the hosts (1970, 1986). This is also Osorio’s first foray into the World Cup knockout stages as coach.

Meanwhile, Sweden continue their World Cup journey after a 12-year absence. They will be hoping for a repeat of their third-place finish in 1994, but they are probably just happy to finish top of a group that included Germany.

Match-wise, Mexico had a terrible game. They had 65% of the possession but failed to capitalise on their blistering pace to unnerve the Swedes. Hirving Lozano, an effective weapon for Mexico during their last two games, was rendered useless by the Swedish defence. They also allowed Sweden more shots on goal and free kicks.

There is a lot of adjustment Osorio must make to prepare his team for the knockout stages.

What’s next?

World Cup 2018  Results: Mexico are staying in Russia as their team still advance despite 0-3 loss

Mexico fans scream out of joy after learning Germany lost to Korea Republic

Should Group E end the way they are now, Mexico will be facing a tough challenge in Brazil. Neymar and the rest of the Canarinha will look to outplay them with flair and awe-inspiring football. Osorio needs to ensure his that his lads play well to give their fans something to cheer for.

Meanwhile, Sweden might square off against Switzerland. Should this match be booked, it will be hard to tell who will win this game. The experts at us believe that both nations have quality players, and it will all come down to how their managers play their tactics.

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The Possibilities are Endless in FIFA 2018

Mexico vs Sweden

You can’t do much more than win two games out of two.

Yet, amazingly, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee you a place in the knockout stages of FIFA 2018.

Mexico seemed an us cert after victories over South Korea and reigning world champions Germany—the 1-0 victory proving one of the shock FIFA 2018 results so far.

Yet, incredibly, there are several scenarios which mean El Tri still have work to do.

Talking Points

The main focus is not on Mexico, however.

After the brief spying row which was well documented in the build-up to their opening game, Sweden have now been rocked by race-hate threats.

Jimmy Durmaz became the target after he conceded the late free-kick which saw Germany see off the Swedes at the weekend.

The 29-year-old Toulouse player was made a scapegoat by some followers and received a stream of invective on his Instagram account, something that even led to death threats against him and his family.

Sweden fans remain optimistic that the nation will still qualify in FIFA 2018 knockout stage

Sweden fans support the nation ahead of their FIFA 2018 match against Germany at Fisht Stadium in Russia

Condemning the racial abuse, if anything Sweden have become an even stronger unit since the incident and delivered a powerful anti-racism message in response.

Now, the FIFA 2018 odds on them progressing may be enhanced as they travel to Ekaterinburg for the crucial Group F encounter.

After their late defeat to Germany—to which the winning goal celebrations irritated Swedish management and led to accusations of disrespect—Sweden know they must attack and cannot afford to be cautious as the reigning world champions are clear favourites to see off South Korea in the other group match.

In Emil Forsberg, Seb Larsson and Ola Toivonen, the scorer of a sumptuous goal against the Germans, they certainly have players who can take the attacking initiative.

Of course, if Sweden and Germany both win, there would then be a three-way tie on six points. In that event, it would come down to goal difference.

If that is identical, it would then be assessed by goals scored, head-to-head results and then fair play—unlikely, but not impossible given the position.

Unthinkably for a nation on six points, Mexico would be eliminated if they lose to Sweden by one goal and Germany win by two.

So El Tri know they must get a draw to be certain of a place in the last 16.

Ricardo Osorio’s side were assured of a place in the knockout phase until Germany’s late winner over Sweden. However, after the success of his tactics in the opening game, they may be set up to absorb Swedish pressure and use the counter-attack to deadly effect again.

With goal-getter Javier Hernandez in their ranks and Hirving Lozano on form, Sweden should certainly be kept on their toes. Osorio will also be aware that the two Hectors, Moreno and Herrera, are one booking away from a suspension.

The comments of defender Miguel Layun suggests an open game: “Against Sweden, it will be very intense. If they score first, they know how to defend. Hopefully, we can be the ones who score first.”

Despite his success, Osorio is not fully appreciated back in Mexico for his prickly relationship with media and tinkering with the national side. And perhaps, failure to qualify would lead some to call for his resignation.

Mexico against the Scandinavians will definitely be a contest worth watching with so many permutations.

History

Other than in 1958 when the Swedes saw off Mexico 3-0, the two nations have never met at a World Cup finals.

The last time they met was in a friendly in 2009 in Oakland when Sweden won 1-0 against opponents then managed by Sven Goran Eriksson.

Sweden certainly have the edge in previous meetings, winning four and drawing three of their nine encounters.

What are the odds?

Sweden manager Janne Andersson hopes to win over Mexico and qualify to FIFA 2018 knockout stage

Sweden manager Janne Andersson reacts during the team’s FIFA 2018 match against Germany

There are betting offers galore in this one.

Mexico are slight favourites, as shown by Asian Handicap odds -0.25 @ 2.09. Meanwhile, Sweden are at 1.85 for that start.

1X2 also back El Tri at 2.41 compared to the Scandinavians at 3.00, with odds on a 1X2 draw offered at 3.20.

In a match in which both sides are expected to attack, you can bet on Over 2.50 goals @ 2.33. Furthermore, Total Goal 4-6 would pay out @ 4.40.

The unlikely scenario of there being no goals is also available. Outright no goal pays out @ 8.00.

But realistically, will the Germans slip up and both Sweden and Mexico qualify?

Probably not if the Group F dual forecast bet of outright Mexico/Sweden bet @ 8.50 is anything to go by.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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World Cup 2018 Preview: No Other Way But Up for Mexico

Korea Republic vs Mexico

After pulling off the biggest shocker of World Cup 2018, Mexico will look to continue their ascendancy when they play their second Group F match at Rostov-on-Don.

Mexico are off to a dream start as they beat reigning champions Germany. And while that will be a tough act to follow, confidence is undoubtedly high inside the El Tri camp.

Next up for Juan Carlos Osorio’s men is the South Koreans who are still reeling following their frustrating defeat to Sweden.

As expected, the Mexicans are considered heavy favourites to come out on top and secure the number one spot in the group. However, beating the Taegeuk Warriors might prove trickier for them considering that they don’t have much time to study their Asian opponents, as compared to their preparation for Germany.

Talking Points

Still remember Sweden’s recent “spygate” incident? Yes, that strategy wherein the Swedes gave one of their coaching staff a James Bond-esque mission to observe and record South Korea’s training sessions.

It’s doubtful Mexico will do something like that. Nonetheless, such move reveals one thing: there’s not much known about the South Koreans that their opponents had to resort to such “dirty” tactic.

Mexico midfielder Andres Guardado acknowledged this and even warned his teammates that the Taegeuk Warriors might prove to be more dangerous opponents than the Germans.

“Korea isn’t an [easy] team as people believe,” Guardado explained. “In terms of pressing, they’ll make it very complicated for us.”

“I have more fear of Korea because less is known about them and that’s when you can be overconfident. We have to realize that it will be very complicated and our minds are set on winning and looking for a slightly easier draw [in the Round of 16].”

Chicharito eyes to score again against Korea Republic and lead Mexico to victory in World Cup 2018

Chicharito warms up in preparation for Mexico’s World Cup 2018 battle against Korea Republic

Sure enough, Mexico know that they have more quality compared to the South Koreans. But, as they would have probably learned from watching the videotapes of the Korea Republic-Sweden match, Shin Tae-yong’s side can make life difficult for any team.

While the South Korea offence leaves much to be desired, their defence was excellent against the Swedes. They played physically and fought for possession throughout, though that backfired when Sweden were awarded the winning penalty.

South Korea third-choice keeper Cho Hyun-woo has also established himself as a threat between the sticks. It remains to be seen if he will start (or even play) again, but if he does, Mexico should expect a hard time breaching the Korean wall.

Mexico will likely rely on Hirving Lozano once again to lead the frontline against South Korea. However, fans can expect a more determined showing from the nation’s all-time top-scorer Javier Hernandez. Chicharito is only one goal short of 50 international goals, and what better way to reach the landmark feat than at the World Cup?

History

Although history suggests South Korea have been the better team at the turn of the century—winning three of their last four meetings against Mexico since 2000—El Tri still have a reason to be confident. After all, their last battle saw them thrash the Asian side 4-0 in a friendly.

The Mexicans also have a remarkable history in the World Cup against opponents from Asia, having won all their past three meetings with Asian nations—scoring seven goals and conceding just two.

Moreover, it’s worth noting that Mexico have lost only two times in their last 18 World Cup group stage matches, a 1-2 defeat to Portugal in 2006 and 0-1 versus Uruguay in 2010. They have nine wins and seven draws in that stretch.

South Korea, meanwhile, are winless in their last seven fixtures in the tournament and are currently on a three-game losing streak.

As what we have learned from the World Cup 2018 results though, history matters little as surprises can come from any nation.

What are the odds?

Cho Hyun-woo is motivated to prevent Mexico from scoring and help Korea Republic advance to World Cup 2018's Last 16

Korea Republic goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo in action during the nation’s World Cup 2018 match against Sweden

World Cup 2018 odds point to a Mexico win at 1X2 @ 1.71, with Korea Republic at 5.20 and the Draw at 3.40.

us Asian Handicap sports betting, nevertheless, gave Mexico a -0.50 handicap at 1.73 —with a -1.00 handicap at 2.26—suggesting that there might not be much separation between the two teams when it comes to goals.

With that said, it’s interesting to note that the odds indicate a low-scoring affair. Over 2.00 goals pay at 1.67, while Under 2.25 is at 1.92. A Correct Score of 1-0 for a Mexico win is also the likely result at 5.20—a 1-1 draw is at 6.80 and 0-1 Korea Republic victory at 12.50.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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Germany Fall: World Cup 2018 Continues With Its Shocking Upsets!

Germany 0-1 Mexico

You don’t have to worry if you’re still surprised with the way the World Cup 2018 has been shaping up for the past couple of games. The past couple World Cup results have brought nothing but widened eyes, raised brows and rattled fan bases.

There have been upsets, shock draws and dominant performances that could have left many a fan satisfied for days. However, the Mexico-Germany brought more exciting storylines for the World Cup fan.

The defending World Cup winners came into this game as heavy favourites to retain the title and cruise through their Mexican competition. They are a methodical team with terrific players, and it seemed like El Tri were going to punch way above their weight when they meet at the Stadion Luzhniki.

However, it seemed like Juan Osorio’s men had different plans for the contest. They battled for every possession and managed to sneak in a brilliant goal on the counterattack in order to complete the most improbable of comebacks.

The Germans were rattled in Moscow. Can they still top their group after this sudden bump knocked them off-course?

Highlights of the game

Bet online as Germany tries to come back

Joachim Low now focuses on Germany’s next battle

Mexico made Die Mannschaft know of their intentions during the first minute of action in Moscow. Hirving Lozano received a beautiful pass inside the box, tempted his mark to slide before moving aside for a shot up front. Fortunately for the Germans, there was a German shirt that was able to block the shot.

Of course, Germany’s calculated football eventually got hold of the ball and began their systematic attack on the ball. Timo Werner, Mesut Ozil, Julian Draxler, Toni Kroos and the rest of the Germany squad slowly but surely worked their way to the goal. However, persistent defending from the Mexican defending and a bit of luck always ensured that the ball would always end up on Guillermo Ochoa’s gloves.

 Mexico had their shots early in the game as Miguel Layun had a couple of set pieces to take, but nothing resulted out of those attempts. They had to focus on stopping the ever-potent German sieges as they tried to find an advantage in the game.

The Mexicans soon found chance after chance as the game carries on. Lozano was effective up the left flank as the German defence left him plenty of room to operate. Miguel Layun, Javier Hernandez and Carlos Vela also challenged Manuel Neuer, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng down the middle.

The game-winning goals would soon present itself in the 35th minute. Chicharito made a beautiful through pass on the left. Lozano picked up the ball and lost his marker. He then made a near-post effort that easily beat the Bayern Munich guardian. The 78,011-strong crowd at Stadion Luzhniki shook the ground with their reaction.

Joachim Low understandably egged his men to equalise and put the game back on level terms in the remainder of the first half. Kroos almost equalised with a fiery mid-range free kick just three minutes later. The only thing that saved Ochoa and the Mexican defence from conceding was the crossbar.

The second half saw Germany putting on more attacking pressure on the Mexicans with Marco Reus, Julian Brandt and Mario Gomez joining the fray. El Tri were barely holding it together against the Germans as they also looked to attack to secure the three points.

Poor shooting and the crossbar helped Ochoa plenty of times in the second half. Their biggest chance at an equaliser came in late: Brandt fired a rebound on the 90th minute from just outside the box. However, the ball just drifted a bit too wide of the left post.

Brandt probably rued missing his chance as the Mexicans hunkered down in the remaining three minutes of added time. Alireza Faghani eventually blew the final whistle, stunning the huge German contingent that was present in the stadium. Meanwhile, Chicharito and the rest of the Mexican national football team cried tears of joy as they surmounted tough World Cup 2018 odds to beat Germany and stand atop Group F.

Key statistics

The defence has been the key trend through the early days of this World Cup, and this game did not buckle the trend when it came to the statistics. Germany had 59% of the time with the ball and made 25 goal attempts, with nine of them going on goal. They also had a lot more corner attempts compared to their opponents.

However, it still cannot be denied that they did not finish the job when it mattered the most. This is Die Mannschaft‘s first defeat in a World Cup opener since 1982. This loss also means that Germany have lost three of their last four games. This only confirms the fears of many that they are not as strong as they used to be.

What’s next?

Can Mexico continue winning football games?

Hirving Lozano celebrates goal against Germany

Mexico will be on a high by the time they face Korea Republic at Rostov Arena. The team knows that a victory here will secure their ticket to the knockout stages, so Chicharito and company must zero in and get the all-important win.

Meanwhile, Germany have a tough test against Emil Forsberg and Sweden. Low must sort out the shambolic attacking display they presented and get his players back on the right track. The last thing the defending champions want to do is burn out and exit the World Cup at the group stages.

You can be sure that the football experts at us will keep a close eye on the progress of these games and see if we ended up seeing the greatest upset in the entire tournament.

 

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