Qatar World Cup: Decoding the best matches in Group E
Group E of the FIFA World Cup 2022 features four-time winners Germany alongside 2010 champions Spain, Costa Rica, and Japan. It is one of the most exciting groups in the tournament. Germany have an able attack. Spain's strength lies in their midfield. Costa Rica have a sturdy defense, while Japan have pace up their wings. We look at the best matches.
Germany vs Japan, November 23
Germany will look for a dominant start to the World Cup and banish their recent run of form in the Nations League. Both Germany and Japan have faced each other twice in international football. The former clinched an emphatic 3-0 win in their maiden meet in 2004. They last met in 2006 in yet another international friendly, which witnessed a 2-2 draw.
Spain vs Germany, November 28
Germany and Spain have locked horns 25 times in all competitions to date. Germany have won nine games (D8 L8). Germany have a 2-1 record over Spain at the World Cup in four meetings (D1). Germany clinched 2-1 wins in the group stage in 1966 and 1982, followed by a 1-1 draw in 1994. Spain outclassed the Germans 1-0 in the 2010 WC semi-finals.
Here are the key players for Spain
19-year-old Barcelona midfielder Pedri could be crucial for Spain. He has scored three goals in La Liga 2022-23. Veteran Sergio Busquets is playing his last World Cup and brings quality. Atletico Madrid's Alvaro Morata has to fire upfront. He has clocked five goals and an assist in La Liga 2022-23. Dani Carvajal and Aymeric Laporte can be crucial customers in defense.
Spain are the favorites to top Group E
Spain reached the semis at Euro 2020 and also 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. Spain have been on a good run of form unlike the Germans and will be backed to top the group. Germany, in all probability will finish second.
Who could be top performers for Germany?
Veteran Thomas Muller could take up the number 10 role. Winger Serge Gnabry has been supreme for Bayern, clocking eight goals and three assists in Bundesliga 2022-23. Midfielder Jamal Musiala has had stellar exploits for Bayern Munich this season, with nine goals and six assists in Bundesliga. Bayern midfielder Joshua Kimmich brings plenty to the table alongside Manchester City's IIkay Gundogan.
Japan's Kamada and Minamino could be crucial figures
Daichi Kamada has been a solid campaigner for Eintracht Frankfurt in Bundesliga this season. The 26-year-old attacking midfielder has managed seven goals and three assists in 13 appearances. He is likely to feature upfront. While Monaco's Takumi Minamino has struggled for form, he too remains an asset on the attacking front. The winger has scored 17 goals for Japan in 44 appearances.
Here's how Germany and Spain can line-up
Germany (4-2-3-1): Manuel Neuer; Thilo Kehrer, Niklas Sule, Antonio Rudiger, David Raum; IIkay Gundogan, Joshua Kimmich; Serge Gnabry, Thomas Muller, Leroy Sane; Kai Havertz. Spain (4-3-3): Unai Simon; Dani Carvajal, Pau Torres, Aymeric Laporte, Jordi Alba; Sergio Busquets, Rodri, Pedri; Pablo Sarabia, Alvaro Morata, Ferran Torres.
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).
Japan's Probable XI for 2022 FIFA WC
Japan Probable XI (4-3-3): Shuichi Gonda; Hiroki Sakai, Maya Yoshida, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Yuto Nagatomo; Wataru Endo, Hidemasa Morita, Ao Tanaka; Junya Ito, Takumi Minamino, Daichi Kamada.
Where to watch the Qatar World Cup in India?
Fans in India can watch the FIFA World Cup 2022 live on Sports18 and Sports18 HD. Fans can stream the matches on the Voot app and Jio Cinema (paid subscription).