The current World Cup holders and 2017 Confederations Cup winners Germany return to Russia in a bid to become the first team to retain the title since Brazil in 1962.

Nickname(s): Die Mannschaft

Best Finish: Winners (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014)

How they qualified: Germany qualified for Russia 2018 with ten wins from ten matches, conceding only four goals. Thumping wins against San Marino, Azerbaijan, and Norway, means the 2014 champions are setting a new standard of modern football.

Coach: Joachim Low

After Euro 2016, Löw opted to stay on as manager, leading Germany to a 2017 Confederations Cup triumph. Low leads Die Mannscahft into his third World Cup as boss, having also assisted Jurgen Klinsmann on home soil in 2006. As a player, Low experienced a largely anonymous career, making nearly 200 appearances for Freiburg. As a coach, it was a similar story until Klinsmann plucked Low from obscurity to assist him in succeeding Rudi Voller.

Key Man: Toni Kroos

In recent years, Germany have managed to blend tactical flexibility and outstanding technical ability with their traditional virtues of discipline, fighting spirit, and efficiency. Toni Kroos is integral to Germany’s style and can play nearly any role in the middle of the park from regista to a number ten. In terms of goals, the midfielder has been more fruitful with the national team than with his current club, Real Madrid.

Opening fixtures:

17 June vs Mexico

23 June vs Sweden

27 June vs South Korea

Squad: TBD