Soccer Football - World Cup - Germany Training - Germany Training Camp, Moscow, Russia - June 16, 2018 Germany's Julian Draxler and Mesut Ozil during training
Soccer Football - World Cup - Germany Training - Germany Training Camp, Moscow, Russia - June 16, 2018 Germany's Julian Draxler and Mesut Ozil during training. Reuters

It's been well over 50 years since a team defended the World Cup title, and that is the history that Germany needs to change if they are to go on and hoist the Jules Rimet Trophy for the second straight time.

Germany begins their Fifa World Cup 2018 outing with a challenging match against Mexico, who have the firepower, experience and know-how to triumph over any team.

Coming into this World Cup, Germany has looked iffy, failing to really impress in any of the friendlies, with injuries, a picture controversy and questionable team decisions not making life easy for the defending champions.

Joachim Low made the surprising decision to leave Leroy Sane out of the 23-man squad, preferring Julian Brandt instead. Considering how well Sane played throughout in Manchester City's record-breaking season, it was quite a surprise, but maybe Low took more than just form and talent into consideration.

What Low will hope is that he doesn't rue that decision, but his worries for the opening game against Mexico have eased with Mesut Ozil recovering from the knee injury that kept the Arsenal playmaker out of Germany's final friendly.

Ozil has also been struggling with a back problem, so it will be interesting to see if Low decides to start the Germany No.10, who is so vital to the way the champions play but has also been embroiled in an unnecessary controversy.

Mexico will know this is a game they can go out and play without too much fear, considering everyone expects Germany to get the three points. That eases the pressure off El Tri a bit, but with the country recently winning a joint bid to host the 2026 World Cup, they will be keen to add the icing to that cake.

Team news:

Germany:

Ozil has been passed the fit and considering Germany did struggle against Saudi Arabia, Low will be keen to have the 29-year-old's creative services. However, with that controversy over a picture taken with Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan rumbling on, Ozil could yet find himself on the bench along with the other German who was a part of the picture – Ilkay Gundogan.

Jerome Boateng is expected to the lineup in the back-four following a groin injury, while Manuel Neuer, who missed the majority of the season with Bayern Munich, should be the one that takes his place in goal. Just having Neuer's presence in goal should help Germany.

The other decision that Low needs to take is who will play for Germany on the left – Marco Reus, Brandt or Julian Draxler? After missing the World Cup four years ago through injury, Reus might be the best option, considering the Borussia Dortmund man will be desperate to make a big impact, but Low seemed to hint Draxler will start.

If Ozil sits out, both Draxler and Reus will play.

Mexico:

Juan Carlos Osorio has no injury problems from the current 23-man squad, although he did have to replace Diego Reyes with Erick Gutierrez after the former failed to recover from a hamstring injury.

FIFA World Cup 2018: Global live stream and TV listings

Singapore: StarHub TV and StarHub Go

UK: ITV1.

USA: Fox and Telemundo.

Russia: VGTRK

Middle East: Bein Sports.