Manuel Neuer glad as Germany draw familiar foes at World Cup

Germany captain Manuel Neuer said he was glad to face some familiar opponents after the reigning champions were drawn with Mexico, Sweden and South Korea for the 2018 World Cup.

Germany defeated Mexico 4-1 at the Confederations Cup in June and have faced Sweden in four previous World Cups, most recently in 2006. Die Mannschaft played South Korea at the 1994 and 2002 World Cups.

And Neuer said the familiarity should help Germany get through to the knockout stage at the top of Group F.

"We were drawn to teams not unknown to us," Neuer said. "I prefer to know what we are facing. We have to take all opponents seriously, but our clear goal must be to win the group.

"Mexico usually play aggressive football. We can prepare well for Sweden. But since they eliminated Italy, we will certainly not underestimate them. Korea Republic are a strong side too. It's an interesting group with three opponents from three continents."

Defender Jerome Boateng admitted "we are the favourites" to win the group, but forward Thomas Muller said previous records should be thrown out when it comes to the World Cup.

"That's an interesting group," he said. "We were drawn to opponents from all parts of the world, just like it should be the case at a World cup. They are three totally different teams. We need to prepare differently for all three of them.

"We've met Mexico at the Confed Cup. But a World Cup is a different story. Depending on our form, this group will be difficult or easy."

Meanwhile, Germany defender Mats Hummels saw the lighter side of the draw and tweeted at Mexico defender Oswaldo Alanis, noting their similarities in appearance.

Mexico got one of the most difficult draws of the entire World Cup by being paired with Germany and with a possible matchup with Brazil waiting in the round of 16, where El Tri have been eliminated the past five World Cups.

But goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa welcomed the challenge, saying: "None of us wanted an easy group. If you're playing the World Cup, you want to face the best. And if you want to reach the final, you have to play great matches.

"The game against Germany is going to be interesting and complicated but it will be the same for them as well."