The story for Group E heading into the 2022 World Cup is the potential sleeper that sits against two of the best European nations. Of course, the favorites and big dogs of the group are Germany and Spain. The two European nations have 36 appearances and five titles (Germany with the bulk of them). They’ll be joined in the group by Costa Rica, who claimed the final spot in the World Cup, and Japan, a nation playing with the church’s money. Spain and Germany will likely advance out of this group to the knockout stage, but it won’t be a walk in the park for either side.
November 23rd - Germany vs. Japan, 8:00am ET/ 5:00am PT; Spain vs. Costa Rica, 11:00am ET/ 8:00am PT
November 27th - Japan vs. Costa Rica, 5:00am ET/2:00am PT; Spain vs. Germany, 2:00pm ET/11:00am PT
December 1st - Japan vs. Spain, 2:00pm ET/11:00am PT; Germany vs. Costa Rica, 2:00pm ET/11:00am PT
Germany is looking to claim their fifth World Cup title, which would tie them with Brazil for most all-time. Germany enters the group winning 9 of their 10 games in the World Cup qualifiers. While they didn’t have to stress about making the World Cup, they haven’t looked as dominant, with a disappointing finish in Euro 2020. This team is in a rebuilding phase, transitioning to a more creative style compared to the historic tough German style of soccer we’ve seen for decades.
FIFA Ranking: 11
Odds of Winning: Semi-favorites
One to Watch: Jamal Musiala makes his World Cup debut at the tender age of 19, leading a core group of technicians for Germany.
La Roja is the group's favorite, but like Germany, we are witnessing the nation's transition. Manager Luis Enrique has mixed a good group of veterans and youth for the World Cup roster, led by the phenom Pedri. Spain is still looking for a definitive closer, which some think could be a weakness when they face defensive-minded Costa Rica.
FIFA Ranking: 7
Odds of Winning: The Favorites
One to Watch: Ferran Torres could be the closer Spain needs, and we could see the connection between him and his Barcelona teammates Gavi and Pedri.
Costa Rica is all about defense; they will need it to make it out of this group with talented attacks. They are likely to play in a 4-4-2 formation to protect the goal. Costa Rica will only go as far as the legendary goalie, Keylor Nevas, will take them. Finding goals will be a struggle for them, which comes at the cost of having a defensive philosophy.
FIFA Ranking: 31
Odds of Winning: Slim to none
One to Watch: Of course, Nevas is the star but let’s see if Joel Campbell can find some goals with limited opportunities.
Japan will be one of the most exciting teams in group play. After their 2-0 friendly win against the USMNT, pundits in the soccer world began to take Samurai Blue seriously. Japan will cause some disruption in this group and could possibly steal a draw result from one of the powerhouses at the top.
FIFA Ranking: 24
Odds of Winning: A true sleeper
One to Watch: Daichi Kamada is the unofficial star of Samurai Blue.
Who will advance from Group E? What matches are most interesting to you? Let us know in the comments.