Two flagship teams of the World Cup 2018 launch this Sunday 17th June. Brazil will try to forget its sinking of 2014 and Germany hopes to forget its preparation.
Brazil has the sinking of 2014 to forget and Germany arrives in Russia after a rather chaotic preparation , but it is the two giants of the World Cup, nine cores between them, who make their debut Sunday at the Mondial-2018.
Honor to the world champions. The Germans start Sunday in Moscow against Mexico, consistently 8th finalist since 1994, defending the title acquired in 2014 in Brazil.
And this first match is escorted by some doubts after a rise in power thwarted by defensive problems and some political interference.
“We know that we will have to move up a gear,” admitted unruffled midfielder Toni Kroos. “But we have shown enough in the past that we respond when it becomes important.”
Germany and its doubts
In fact, the Germans have never been the world champions of friendly matches, but it has never really been a problem either, as evidenced by the four stars on their jerseys.
All the same, the Mannschaft remains on five draws and a 2-1 victory against Saudi Arabia, which has since been shattered by Russia (5-0) at the opening of the World Cup.
Coach Joachim Löw is also said to have moved on from the controversy surrounding photos of midfielders Mesut Özil and Ilkay Gündogan with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. But anyway, Löw knows, retaining the world title “is the hardest thing.”
The game against Mexico, which has not been spared by extra-sport affairs with the revelation of a sexual orgy involving multiple players, will also be an opportunity to test Manuel Neuer.
The huge German goalkeeper has indeed played a friendly and a half since September.
Brazil and its ghosts
Four stars for Germany, five for Brazil, but a recent nightmare, the 7-1 inflicted at home by the Mannschaft in the semifinals of the previous edition, in Belo Horizonte.
“I wish it were different but there is no trauma. Otherwise I would have retired, “said Saturday Marcelo, who will wear Rostov captain’s armband of Seleçao.
The memory is still burning and the Brazilians are in Russia for a title that would be worth redemption.
Their leader will obviously be Neymar, who was absent due to injury during the sinking of four years ago and who has just returned from an absence of four months after a broken foot.
“He’s always fast, he did not lose that speed but he’s not 100%. I hope he will be in shape on Sunday, “said coach Tite.
Even with a Neymar not quite at the top, Brazil will clearly favor against Switzerland, whose sixth place in the Fifa ranking may seem flattering. Willian, Gabriel Jesus, Coutinho: the alternative offensive options of Auriverde have indeed the pace.
Costa Rica and its memories
For Costa Rica, however, 2014 is a wonderful memory. At the top of the “group of death”, the Ticos then eliminated Greece in the round of 16 and were close to the last four with a penalty shootout against the Netherlands.
The effect of surprise has passed and everyone this time will be wary of the team of Keylor Navas, goalkeeper of Real Madrid.
“This World Cup is much more complicated than the previous one because in Brazil we had nothing to lose. This time, people are expecting a lot from us and we hope we will do as well, “said captain Bryan Ruiz.
For him and his family, everything starts again in Samara against Serbia Milinkovic-Savic, the young midfielder of Lazio Rome, which could be one of the great revelations of the tournament.