Germany a perfect opponent for Brazil in the RO16 | The Daily Star
12:53 AM, June 18, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:04 AM, June 18, 2018

Germany a perfect opponent for Brazil in the RO16

Brazilians will be encouraged by today's result in the Germany-Mexico match, which ended 1-0 in favour of the Mexicans.

Not only can Brazil fans celebrate the loss for the team that so cruelly and ruthlessly sent them crashing out of their home World Cup with an unforgettable 7-1 annihilation, they can also salivate at the prospect of an early revenge and focus on mission hexa.

If Brazil top their group and Mexico win their next two games, then it is likely Germany will finish second in their group, setting up a tantalising Brazil-Germany clash in the round of the 16.

Before the ball was first kicked in Russia, fans and neutrals alike had seen a Brazil-Germany final as one of the more favourable final match-ups given the backstory -- the most enticing aspect of which was the notion of revenge that every Brazil fan overtly displayed.

However, underneath that were also fears that the Selecao, led on the pitch by an emotional Neymar regardless of where the captain's armband resides, would let their emotions get the better of them.

The World Cup final is equally a stage for ultimate champions and heartbreak, but for every Germany win, there has been an iconic heartbreak at the other end.

In 1954, they defeated the Magical Magyars of Hungary -- a team led by Ferenc Puskas that had gone unbeaten for six years prior to the final -- in a match, to this day known, as 'The Miracle of Berne'.

In 1974, Germany reduced one of the games’ greatest to tears by handing a Johan Cruyff-inspired Netherlands, which had perfected the prototype of Total Football started by the Magical Magyars.

In 1990 it was another gut-wrenching 1-0 defeat, this time for Argentina and one Diego Armando Maradona, who, despite his decimated legs, was looking for a second title in as many World Cups.

And in 2014, the Germans lay to waste every last tinge of festivity against the hosts before denying another of Argentina's greatest, Lionel Messi, of a World Cup win.

On a stage not nearly as big, the only thing Brazilians will have on their mind in the Round of 16 will be Germany and revenge, without being burdened by the trophy being immediately on the line which often leads to teams playing more cautiously.

The Germans' loss continues a trend of reigning champions losing their opening matches. But unlike an Italian side decimated by the loss of their attacking stars in 2010 and a Spanish side whose possession game had been well and truly found out in 2014, the Germans, with their elite mentality and plethora of talents, were perhaps the most unexpected victims.

They must now up their game to ensure wins against Sweden and South Korea to ensure they do not continue another curse -- the one that has seen the holders go out in the group stages in three of the past four tournaments. France, with an injured Zinedine Zidane exited, in 2002, Italy finished bottom of their group in 2010 while Spain got just one win in their 2010 exit.

Whatever the case, the group stages have thrown viewers another curveball that is expected every four years but never quite seen coming. Another is a potential France-Argentina clash if the Albiceleste fail to get results going their way over their next two matches.

However, with the first round barely a third of the way through, there are still numerous things that can restore the balance in Germany's Group F.

For the sake of those fans who want to see Brazil play their expansive brand of football that induces rings of 'Ole' around stadiums and homes worldwide -- and even for the Germans who want to deny Brazil at the second hurdle, crushing their quest for vengeance as well as providing another iconic heartbreak -- a second-round match-up would perhaps provide the perfect platform.

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