Mesut Ozil will be a key figure for Germany against Sweden. Photo: Hannah McKay/Reuters

Will Germany suffer the same fate as Argentina? Surely not, as they come up against a confident Sweden that come off a win in their World Cup opener.

The powerful Belgium side can take a decisive step towards the last-16 against Tunisia, while Mexico will want to prove that their win over Germany wasn’t a fluke when they face Korea Republic.

2pm: Belgium v Tunisia

After a goalless first half against Panama, Belgium found their range after the break, with Romelu Lukaku leading the way with a brace. They will be glad that they can refine their game further against a team like Tunisia, who shouldn’t really pose any problems for one of the dark horses for the title.

The Belgians, though, will want to make an emphatic statement by producing a more convincing display against the North Africans.

Spurs star Mousa Dembele could get his first start at the tournament in midfield, and he might just prove to be the difference to increase the supply to Lukaku and Eden Hazard, while Kevin de Bruyne would want to build on a better second-half display against Panama.

Tunisia gave England some anxious moments, and in fact looked on course for a 1-1 draw until a late Harry Kane winner.

Striker Wahbi Khazri will try to put the Belgian defence under pressure, but he will come up against a much-more assured unit that includes Thibaut Courtois, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen.

Prediction: Belgium 3-0 Tunisia

5pm: Korea Republic v Mexico

They are still chanting the name of Hirving Lozano in Cancun after his memorable winner against the mighty Germans, but Mexico won’t have an easy time of it against Korea Republic (South Korea).

Even though they lost to Sweden through a late, VAR-awarded penalty, they are a well-organised outfit who are hard to break down.

Most fans outside the country will know Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur, but he will need support from the likes of captain Ki Sung-yueng and Hwang Hee-chan.

Lozano will be keen to prove his goal against Germany wasn’t a once-off, while fellow striker Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez would want to get on to the score-sheet as well.

Prediction: Korea Republic 0-1 Mexico

8pm: Germany v Sweden

It’s do-or-die time for the defending champions, following their shock loss to Mexico, and coach Joachim Loew must gamble by going on an all-out attack.

It is believed that Marco Reus will start after being benched against Mexico, and his speed out wide will compensate somewhat for the surprise omission of Manchester City star Leroy Sané.

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But the Germans need to score goals, and that was their major problem in their opening game. Thomas Mueller is not the goal-poacher he was over many years, and Mesut Ozil is more of a creator than finisher.

Youngster Timo Werner was the man employed upfront against Mexico, but he will come up against Swedish captain and strongman Andreas Granqvist, while Manchester United’s Victor Lindelof is also fit again.

Loew, though, will hope that Ozil and Toni Kroos can his team going.

Sweden may lack the pace required to cause an upset, so expect Germany to flex their champion muscles…

Prediction: Germany 1-0 Sweden

 

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