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World Cup 2018: 5 key players for Germany’s group stage opener against Mexico

11.71K   //    17 Jun 2018, 03:37 IST

Germany v Mexico: Semi-Final - FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017
Germany beat Mexico 4-1 in the Confederations Cup last year

The reigning world champions Germany face the mercurial South American side, Mexico first up in a crucial Group F tie at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow on Sunday.

The Germans are the number one ranked side in the world. They have made it at least to the semi-finals of each edition of the World Cup since the turn of the millennium. And they have just the team to make it to another one this time around or perhaps go all the way as well.

But die Mannschaft have a “Champion’s curse” to overcome. And if their poor showing during warm up friendlies for the World Cup is anything to go by, they will have their task cut out for them.

The Mexicans on the other hand have been the perennial second rounders in World Cups. They have made it to the round of 16 in each of the last six editions but have failed to go any further.

The last time these two teams met, Germany came out on top as they thrashed Mexico 4-1 in a Confederations Cup semi-final tie last year.

Will the Germans pip the South American side yet again or will the Mexicans settle old scores with a win? And while we wait for the answer tomorrow, let’s take a look at five key players who can turn the match in favour of their respective national sides.

#1 Thomas Muller, Midfielder (Germany)

Germany Training And Press Conference
Mueller will be key to Germany's hopes in the tournament

Thomas Mueller was there when Germany won the coveted trophy in 2014. And he will be out there on the biggest stage once again, as they bid to defend the title in Russia.

The 2010 Golden Boot winner is a versatile player and has taken up a variety of attacking roles in Germany's midfield over the years. But his exploits on the right wing, with Ozil in the centre, has benefited the side more in recent times and he would like to continue along the same lines.

The Bayern Munich talisman has a knack for being at the right place at the right time which explains his high tally of goals for club and country over the years.

In his 91 international appearances he has scored 38 goals and has provided 36 assists. His World Cup goal tally reads 10 goals from 13 matches. How about that for consistency!

Mueller’s movements in the final third will be imperative as the Mexicans are expected to sit back and defend for much of the 90 minutes.

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