Group E Overview
Two of the last three World Cup winners are in Group E as Spain and Germany face off with Costa Rica and Japan.
Costa Rica were quarter-finalists eight years ago, but fell at the group stage in Russia. Japan are appearing in their seventh consecutive World Cup and reached the last 16 in 2018.
The Favourites: Spain
Spain are narrowly favoured over Germany at the top of Group E, despite winning just two matches across the 2014 and 2018 World Cups.
A semi-final appearance at the Euros last summer was a step in the right direction, yet La Roja are a work in progress under Luis Enrique with a talent gap between the all-conquering team of 2008-12 and the next generation.
The starlets selected for Qatar are the players to keep an eye on.
Pedri, Gavi, Ansu Fati, Nico Williams and Yeremy Pino are the future. This squad is short on peak-age elite talent, though, with a reliance on Alvaro Morata for goals.
Spain are evens to win Group E at BetVictor.
Eliminated in the round of 16 at last summer’s Euros and embarrassingly knocked out at the group stage in Russia, Germany are in a period of transition after winning the 2014 World Cup.
Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka and Ilkay Gundogan provide Hansi Flick with high-calibre options in midfield, while Jamal Musiala is a real talent.
But this squad is not quite at the level of recent Germany sides.
It would be foolish to write Die Mannschaft off, of course. They have reached five finals since 1982, twice winning the competition, and finished third in 2006 and 2010. The clash with Spain on 27th November is the pick of the group stage fixtures.
Germany are 23/20 to win Group E with Unibet.
Competing in their sixth World Cup, Costa Rica have suffered two quarter-final exits in the Gold Cup since they claimed just one point in the World Cup group stage four years ago.
An inter-confederation playoff against New Zealand was required to book their place in Qatar after finishing fourth in the third round of CONCACAF qualification.
Their record in 2022 is stellar, with nine wins and just one defeat from 12 matches.
Overall quality is a concern, though, with the majority of the squad plying their trade in the Costa Rican topflight. Keylor Navas, a star performer at the 2014 World Cup, is the standout name.
Costa Rica are out at 13/1 to finish second in Group E at Paddy Power.
Five wins from 21 World Cup matches isn’t exactly a dazzling record for Japan, but they have reached the round of 16 on three occasions, and were runners-up at the 2019 Asian Cup.
The Samurai Blue are unbeaten in their last five matches, keeping clean sheets in all of those fixtures.
The squad isn’t the strongest on paper, with Arsenal’s Takehiro Tomiyasu and Monaco’s Takumi Minamino being two of the more recognisable names, but Japan are often greater than the sum of their parts and have won almost 70 per cent of their matches under Hajime Moriyasu.
Schedule and Venues
- 23rd November: Germany vs Japan, 1pm, Khalifa International Stadium
- 23rd November: Spain vs Costa Rica, 4pm, Al Thumama Stadium
- 27th November: Japan vs Costa Rica, 10am, Ahmed bin Ali Stadium
- 27th November: Germany vs Spain, 7pm, Al Bayt Stadium
- 1st December: Spain vs Japan, 7pm, Khalifa International Stadium
- 1st December: Germany vs Costa Rica, 7pm, Al Bayt Stadium
All odds are subject to change