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26 Jun 2018

World Cup 2018: South Korea vs Germany - Lineups, Preview & Prediction

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15:00 BST, Wednesday 27th June, Kazan Stadium (Kazan, Russia), BBC One

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Last Time Out

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South Korea Lineup

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Germany Lineup

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Key Battle: Son Heung-min (South Korea) vs Joshua Kimmich (Germany)

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Talking Points

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Prediction: South Korea 0-3 Germany

15:00 BST, Wednesday 27th June, Kazan Stadium (Kazan, Russia), BBC One

The rollercoaster ride that is Group F will come to a grinding halt on Wednesday afternoon as the final round of matches is completed. 

Joachim Low's Germany head into the final fixture with a renewed sense of belief after Toni Kroos' last gasp strike stole all three points against Sweden. Having gone into the break on the brink of elimination, the Germans came out with a vengeance in the second period and turned their fortunes around.

For the South Koreans, it has been a tournament to forget so far, having lost both of their opening fixtures. Progression to the last-16 isn't impossible, though highly unlikely. After narrowly losing to Sweden in their first game, the Koreans were up against it when they faced a Mexico side fresh from beating Germany the first time out. 

There are lots of permutations in Group F and much still to be decided, but a defeat for South Korea will see them on an early flight home with zero points.

Last Time Out

South Korea 1-2 Mexico

Saturday's game in Rostov saw Mexico take their second victory of the group stage after a relatively comfortable 2-1 victory over the Koreans. 

Carlos Vela gave El Tri the lead from the spot midway through the first half, before Javier Hernandez doubled the advantage with half an hour to play.

REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Son Heung-min gave his side a vague feeling of hope after his fantastic curling effort found the bottom corner in added time, but it was too little too late for the Koreans who found themselves bottom of the group having yet to pick up a point. 

Germany 2-1 Sweden

Germany spared themselves from an embarrassing exit from the World Cup after turning around a 1-0 deficit in the second half.

After Toni Kroos surrendered possession in midfield, Ola Toivonen punished the mistake with a delicately placed lob over the onrushing Manuel Neuer. 

The Germans' sluggish play was reminiscent of their previous undoing in Moscow at the hands of Mexico. Despite a bright start, Die Mannschaft continued to look over-exposed in defence and were liable to being caught on the counter.

REUTERS/Hannah McKay

An early second half goal from Marco Reus started the German fightback, with the Swedish goal coming under siege. A red card to Jerome Boateng should have dampened their spirits, but in classic fashion, Low's side continued to search for a winner.

Kroos stepped forward to curl a superb effort into Robin Olsen's far corner deep into stoppage time to give his side a deserved three points. 

South Korea Lineup

The Koreans will field a full-strength side with the prospect of exiting the tournament without securing a point a distinct possibility.

Tottenham star Son was much more effective when playing through the middle of the park as opposed to playing deployed out wide. 

Germany Lineup

The injury to Mats Hummels coupled with Jerome Boateng's red card gives manager Low a slight dilemma in central defence.

Antonio Rudiger will hope to keep his place, and Bayern Munich's Nicolas Sule may be in contention to replace his club team mate alongside the Chelsea man. Ilkay Gundogan could also keep his place after replacing Sebastian Rudy against Sweden.

Key Battle: Son Heung-min (South Korea) vs Joshua Kimmich (Germany)

Son is his side's most influential player and outlet, and much of their attacking play revolves around his ability to get into threatening positions.

Playing more centrally is Son's forte in this Korean side, though he can find himself forced wide trying to create opportunities himself.

REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Germany like to utilise their fullbacks, and Kimmich has had a lot of joy attacking down the right flank, which means Son could find a lot of space in behind on the German right, starting from a wide position and drifting inside.

However, to counter-act the threat, South Korea will have to press from the front. Son will have his hands full with attacking responsibility, but will have to help defensively too. 

Talking Points

Can Germany complete their turnaround?

Toni Kroos' last-minute strike may have more significance than just winning his side the three points.  The Germans have had a sluggish start to the tournament as the defence of their crown looked under threat at the first hurdle. 

Having lost to Mexico, a second successive loss - or draw, for that matter - to Sweden would have sent the reigning champions packing, but the superb goal from Kroos may turn Die Mannschaft's campaign on its head.

REUTERS/Michael Dalder

The goal will be a swift reminder to his side, and the footballing world, that they never know when they are beaten and could act as the kick-start they're in need of.

What now for South Korea?

The Koreans will head into their final game low on confidence, and with the sudden swing in mood in the German camp, few will give them much of a chance to take anything from their final game. 

This third and final fixture isn't ideal, with Son and company knowing a defeat will send them home with nothing to show their fans.

REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff

Their best is to give this last fixture a real good go, focussing on where other teams have exposed their opponents and given them issues. 

Son's pace will be a different animal for the German backline to contend with, and if he can get in behind the back four, then they have a slim chance. 

Prediction: South Korea 0-3 Germany

Had Sweden been able to hold on to the precious point that was snatched away by the Kroos strike, then the chance for the Koreans to take something from this one may have been higher. 

As it is, Kroos' winner will give the German side the edge that they temporarily misplaced. Having stared elimination in the face, the picture suddenly looks drastically different for the holders. 

The Koreans have been poor in their opening games, and this fixture won't be one they're looking forward to. Germany will look to use this as a springboard to send a stark reminder to the last-16 that they're still not to be messed with. 0-3.