FIFA World Cup 2022: Complete analysis of Group E
European heavyweights Germany and Spain have been clubbed together in Group E of the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar. They are joined by Japan and Costa Rica, who will be raring to pull an upset to proceed further. Four-time winners Germany will play the Group E opener against Japan on November 23. Ahead of the same, here's the complete analysis of Group E.
How have Group E teams fared in the World Cup?
Germany hold the joint-most appearances in the tournament alongside Brazil (109 matches). Germany have commanded 67 wins, besides 20 draws and 22 losses. Costa Rica have a 5-8 W/L record across 18 matches (D5). Japan hold a 5-11 W/L record across 21 matches in the tournament (D5) . As for Spain, the 2010 winners have mustered 30 wins, 15 draws, and 18 losses.
Can Flick better Germany's fortunes?
Germany lost in the round of 16 versus England last year at the European Championships. The end result saw former Bayern Munich boss Hansi Flick taking over the reins from Joachim Low. Recently, Germany concluded third in League A Group 3 at the UEFA Nations League 2022-23 (W1 D4 L1). Prior to that, Germany topped Group J in European FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.
Germany are stacked with able campaigners
Veteran Thomas Muller could take up the number 10 role. Serge Gnabry has been supreme for Bayern, clocking eight goals and three assists in Bundesliga 2022-23. He will be a driving force in Germany's attack alongside winger Leroy Sane. Versatile Chelsea star Kai Havertz could be used as the principle striker. Ilkay Gundogan and rising sensation Jamal Musiala are sound options in the midfield.
Spain have fared well of late
Spain have reached the quarter-finals at least on two of the last five editions of World Cup (2002, 2010). They suffered an R16 defeat in 2018 Russia. However, Spain reached the semis at Euro 2020. Spain finished atop of Group B at the European World Cup Qualifiers (W6 D1 L1). In 2022-23 Nations League, Spain topped League A Group 2, qualifying for the semis.
A look at Spain's key players
19-year-old Barcelona midfielder Pedri could be crucial for Spain with top-notch abilities in passing, vision, technique, and temperament. He has scored three goals in La Liga 2022-23. Atletico Madrid's Alvaro Morata will have the scoring reins. He has clocked five goals and an assist in La Liga 2022-23. Winger Ferran Torres has five goals and an assist for Barca this season.
Costa Rica will be raring to pull an upset
Costa Rica had a deplorable run in the first half of CONCACAF's final round of qualifying. The Ticos then fetched six wins and a draw in the late run which helped them finish fourth after Canada, Mexico, and the USA. In the intercontinental playoff, Costa Rica beat AFC side New Zealand, thanks to an early goal from Joel Campbell to book tickets for Qatar.
Navas remains the linchpin for Costa Rica
Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Keylor Navas was in sublime form during the later stages of the qualifying. The living legend owns the ninth-most caps for the Ticos (107). While they are a solid defensive unit, Costa Rica's concerns lie on the scoring front. They managed 13 goals in qualifying, the fewest among the CONCACAF teams that qualified.
Kamada carries the scoring reins for Japan
Japan have featured in each of the World Cup events since 1998, reaching R16 in three instances (2002, 2010, 2018). While the Blue Samurai are yet to reach the quarter-finals, their past experiences could prove vital in 2022. Eintracht Frankfurt's Daichi Kamada will be the star of their show. The 26-year-old attacking midfielder has fetched seven goals and three assists in Bundesliga 2022-23.
Group E: Here's the schedule of matches
Germany vs Japan: November 23 (6:30 PM IST). Spain vs Costa Rica: November 23 (9:30 PM IST). Japan vs Costa Rica: November 27 (3:30 PM IST). Spain vs Germany: November 28 (12:30 AM IST). Costa Rica vs Germany: December 2 (12:30 AM IST). Japan vs Spain: December 2 (12:30 AM IST).