World Champions Germany begin their quest to retain the trophy they won four years ago in Brazil when they come up against Mexico in Group F action on Sunday afternoon.
Meanwhile, El Tri know if they can get something from the opening fixture, it will stand them in good stead before pivotal matches with South Korea and Sweden, as the trio battle it out for second and a Round of 16 place.
Where and when: Luzhniki Stadium – 17 June, kick-off 16:00
Where you can see Russia vs. Saudi Arabia: BBC
Last time: The countries faced off in the Confederations Cup in 2017 with Germany running out comfortable 4-1 winners. A quickfire double from Leon Goretzka gave Die Mannschaft an unassailable lead before Timo Werner and Amin Younes sealed the contest. Raul Jimenez got the solitary goal for Mexico.
|Germany to win and both teams to score||12/5||Offer|
|Over 2.5 goals in the match||9/10||Offer|
|Under 7.5 corners over the 90 minutes||3/1||Offer|
Germany v Mexico Predictions and Preview
The four time winners of football’s greatest prize come in to the tournament as one of the favourites, despite an uncharacteristic set of performances since qualifying for Russia.
Germany lost to Brazil and Austria but also struggled to see off Saudi Arabia earlier this month and Coach Jogi Low has some big decisions to make before the opening clash.
The versatile Thomas Muller will probably play from the right hand side, with Timo Werner and Mario Gomez battling it out for the lone striker role. RB Leipzig man Werner appears to have the edge having scored against Saudi Arabia in the final friendly and can be found at 5/4 to notch anytime against Mexico.
One player who won’t be featuring for the defending champions is Manchester City starlet Leroy Sane. The 22-year-old’s shocking omission came after a stellar campaign at club level. Sane recorded double figures in both the goal and assist categories and deservedly picked up the PFA Young Player of the Year award. The winger was widely expected to take his place on the left flank for his country this summer but this honour will now go to Julian Draxler or Marco Reus.
Die Mannschaft are 9/20 to chalk up maximum points while a routine 2-0 win is 11/2.
Opponents Mexico have won three of their five non-competitive matches after romping to top spot in the preliminary phase. Central to the hopes of El Tri will be the performance of West Ham forward Javier Hernandez. The ex-Manchester United striker is his nation’s all-time top scorer and is 10/3 to bag anytime during the encounter. Mexico are 13/2 to earn the victory.
One to watch for Germany: Mesut Ozil is a different player at international level and relishes the mantle of being a leader. The playmaker is 5/1 to strike first.
One to watch for Mexico: Hirving Lozano has caught the eye of a host of clubs on the continent and will be a danger with his searing pace. The winger is 55/4 in the same market.
Long shot: Germany emphatically hit four past Portugal in 2014 and the same number against Australia on home soil in 2010. A repeat 4-0 scoreline for the third opening group game in succession is available at 40/2 and would lay down a marker to the likes of France, Spain, Brazil and Argentina.