World Cup Group E: Spain, Germany, Japan and Costa Rica

Remark

Any time earlier World Cup winners are drawn in the identical group, issues are positive to get fascinating. Add in the truth that these former champions — on this 12 months’s case, Spain and Germany — have received their most up-to-date titles previously 12 years and there’s one other layer of intrigue. The European rivals, each now ranked in FIFA’s prime 11, will definitely be vying for the highest spot. Japan (No. 24) and Costa Rica (No. 31) have each performed the spoiler within the group stage in earlier tournaments and shall be prepared to leap on any missteps.

Right here’s a more in-depth have a look at Group E, which kicks off Nov. 23 when Germany meets Japan and Spain faces Costa Rica.

For a four-year stretch final decade, there was no higher group on the earth than Spain, and it had the trophies to show it. La Roja received three main titles from 2008 to 2012 — two European Championships and the 2010 World Cup — and with its distinctive techniques modified the overall understanding of what nationwide groups may do. Now 10 years since its final trophy, Spain remains to be looking for the following iteration of its id as a squad. Luis Enrique hopes he can uncover it in time for Qatar.


Spain hosted the World Cup in 1982 and received it in 2010.

Spain hosted the World Cup in 1982 and received it in 2010.

Spain hosted the World Cup in 1982 and received it in 2010.

Within the decade for the reason that Euro 2012 ultimate, Spain has principally disillusioned at main tournaments. It didn’t advance out of the group stage on the 2014 World Cup, the fifth defending champion to take action, after which exited within the spherical of 16 in Russia 4 years later. Spain thrived throughout these glory years perfecting its “tiki-taka” type, a tactical system wherein gamers search to dominate the ball by way of urgent, possession and brief passes, however after 2012, the remainder of the world started to catch up and discover ways to counter.

Spain made a breakthrough final summer season at Euro 2020, reaching the semifinals of a significant match for the primary time since 2012. It adopted that efficiency with a visit to the UEFA Nations League ultimate three months later. The Spaniards misplaced on each events and struggled to seek out the web of their ultimate two World Cup qualifiers in UEFA’s Group B final fall, however nonetheless managed to keep away from a playoff and mechanically certified with a win over Sweden in November 2021.


Coach

Luis Enrique

52 years previous

La Roja has no bother dominating the ball and controlling possession, however the absence of a high quality high-scoring striker since David Villa’s retirement was on show through the qualifying marketing campaign. Barcelona’s Ferran Torres led with 4 objectives, however Spain as a group managed solely 15 throughout the eight matches. Atlético Madrid’s Álvaro Morata had a string of high-profile scoring struggles main as much as Euro 2020, however has six objectives since final July. Gamers like Actual Sociedad winger Mikel Oyarzabal (if wholesome) and Manchester Metropolis midfielder Rodri will assist the trigger, and it may possibly fall again on an skilled again line, led by Barcelona’s Jordi Alba and Actual Madrid’s Dani Carvajal.

If he makes the squad, Ansu Fati may assist fill the void at striker — the 19-year-old turned the youngest scorer in Spanish nationwide group historical past in 2020 and inherited the enduring No. 10 shirt at Barcelona after Lionel Messi’s departure. That scoring file was shattered two years later by his Barcelona teammate, Gavi, who in June scored his first senior aim in a Nations League match.


Pedri

19 years previous, Tegueste, Spain

FC Barcelona

Pedri

19 years previous, Tegueste, Spain

FC Barcelona

Pedri

19 years previous, Tegueste, Spain

FC Barcelona

Pedri will nonetheless be an adolescent when he arrives in Qatar — he’ll flip 20 on Nov. 25 — however he already boasts a stacked résumé. The Barcelona midfielder was named to the group of the match at Euro 2020 after enjoying greater than 600 minutes throughout six begins for Spain. (After the match, Enrique mentioned he hadn’t seen a displaying like that at a European Championship from any 18-year-old, not even legendary Spanish midfielder Andrés Iniesta.) Lower than two weeks later, Pedri flew to Japan and helped Spain’s squad earn an Olympic silver medal on the Tokyo Video games. He’s positive to make an impression at his first World Cup.

Los Ticos maintain the excellence of being the ultimate group to qualify for this 12 months’s World Cup — they defeated New Zealand in a June playoff to safe their third consecutive journey to the match. This was their hardest qualification cycle of the previous 20 years, and it is going to be even trickier to flee this World Cup group.


Costa Rica

within the World Cup

This shall be Costa Rica’s sixth look within the World Cup. Its greatest outcome was reaching the quarterfinals in Brazil 2014.

Costa Rica

within the World Cup

This shall be Costa Rica’s sixth look within the World Cup. Its greatest outcome was reaching the quarterfinals in Brazil 2014.

Costa Rica

within the World Cup

This shall be Costa Rica’s sixth look within the World Cup. Its greatest outcome was reaching the quarterfinals in Brazil 2014.

The third-smallest nation in Central America has a formidable historical past of reaching the World Cup. Of its six earlier profitable qualifying campaigns, it completed within the prime two of the Concacaf desk in 4 of them. Costa Rica was a darling of Brazil 2014, ending first in a gaggle that featured three different World Cup winners in Uruguay, Italy and England. It misplaced on penalties to the Netherlands within the quarterfinals, and adopted up that run with a group-stage exit in 2018.

Of their first eight video games of this qualifying cycle, the Costa Ricans received solely two and loitered close to the underside of the desk because the second a part of the marketing campaign approached. When the brand new 12 months arrived, although, Los Ticos went unbeaten in six. Regardless of Costa Rica’s win over the US in its ultimate sport, aim differential decided it might head to an inter-confederation playoff for a spot within the World Cup. Taking part in at Al-Rayyan Stadium (set to host seven video games), it went forward early on a third-minute aim from Joel Campbell and held New Zealand scoreless for the rest of the match to earn a return go to to Qatar.


Coach

Luis Fernando

Suárez

Coach

Luis Fernando

Suárez

Coach

Luis Fernando Suárez

62 years previous

Nearly all of Costa Rica’s gamers spend their membership season within the nation’s personal league — principally at Alajuelense and Herediano, Liga FPD’s prime two golf equipment — however there are just a few notable exceptions. Left again Bryan Oviedo moved to MLS’s Actual Salt Lake this summer season after greater than 10 years in Europe. Campbell had three objectives throughout qualifying and is off to a very good begin to the Mexican membership season with León. Winger Jewison Bennette is barely 18, however he may very well be the nation’s subsequent massive star: Days after scoring his first aim for English facet Sunderland in September, he discovered the web twice for Costa Rica in a pleasant.


Keylor Navas

35 years previous, San Isidro de El Common, Costa Rica

Paris Saint-Germain

Keylor Navas

35 years previous, San Isidro de El Common, Costa Rica

Paris Saint-Germain

Keylor Navas

35 years previous, San Isidro de El Common, Costa Rica

Paris Saint-Germain

Keylor Navas has twice been named the Concacaf participant of the 12 months to go together with three greatest goalkeeper awards. On the membership degree, he received three consecutive Champions League titles because the starter for Actual Madrid and has claimed two league crowns since shifting to Paris Saint-Germain in 2019. At Brazil 2014, he saved three clear sheets in 5 matches — most memorably within the spherical of 16, holding Greece scoreless by way of regular time and a penalty shootout when his group was right down to 10 males. Navas is not a daily starter in Europe, however he nonetheless had eight clear sheets in World Cup qualifying.

For Germany, the previous two main tournaments introduced solely disappointment. The four-time World Cup winner didn’t advance out of the group stage in 2018 and barely reached the knockout spherical at Euro 2020 earlier than bouncing out to England within the spherical of 16. With a brand new coach in cost and a refreshed group id, Germany hopes this match has a a lot totally different outcome.


Germany hosted the World Cup in 1974 and 2006, and received it in 1954, 1974, 1990 and 2014.

West Germany 3,

Hungary 2

Netherlands 1,

West Germany 2

West Germany 1, Argentina 0

Germany hosted the World Cup in 1974 and 2006, and received it in 1954, 1974, 1990 and 2014.

West Germany 3,

Hungary 2

Netherlands 1,

West Germany 2

West Germany 1, Argentina 0

Germany hosted the World Cup in 1974 and 2006, and received it in 1954, 1974, 1990 and 2014.

West Germany 1,

Argentina 0

West Germany 3,

Hungary 2

Netherlands 1,

West Germany 2

These early match exits each occurred underneath the watch of Joachim Löw, who led the Germans to a third-place World Cup end in 2010 and the title in 2014. In March 2021 — the identical month wherein Germany misplaced a World Cup qualifier for simply the third time in its historical past — Löw introduced he would step down after the summer season’s European Championship. Now greater than a 12 months faraway from the defeat to England, the Germans have seen a resurgence by the hands of latest supervisor Hansi Flick (an assistant underneath Löw in 2014) and with a core of gamers from perennial Bundesliga champion Bayern Munich.

The rest of the World Cup qualifying marketing campaign supplied the primary actual alternative for Flick to impose a brand new id on this German facet, and his plans labored. Germany was the primary group, exterior of the host, to formally qualify for Qatar, beating North Macedonia in October 2021 to complete on the prime of UEFA’s Group J.


Coach

Hansi Flick

57 years previous

In two seasons from 2019 to 2021, Flick managed powerhouse Bayern Munich to 2 league titles, a FIFA Membership World Cup and a Champions League crown. It’s no shock that a lot of his Germany group now comes from Bayern. Captain Manuel Neuer nonetheless occupies his place in aim; Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka patrol the midfield; and Leroy Sané and Serge Gnabry tempo the wings. Flick additionally has a gifted crop of youthful gamers to work with: Bayern’s Jamal Musiala (19 years previous), Bayer Leverkusen’s Florian Wirtz (19) and Chelsea’s Kai Havertz (23) have all proven promise with the nationwide group.


Thomas Müller

33 years previous, Weilheim in Oberbayern, Germany

Bayern Munich

Thomas Müller

33 years previous, Weilheim in Oberbayern, Germany

Bayern Munich

Thomas Müller

33 years previous, Weilheim in Oberbayern, Germany

Bayern Munich

Thomas Müller was a commanding presence throughout Germany’s earlier profitable World Cup runs: The Bayern attacker received the Golden Boot with 5 objectives in 2010 and earned the Silver Ball because the match’s second-best participant in 2014. The nation’s most embellished participant spent two years out of rivalry through the rockiest factors of the Löw period, however he returned for Euro 2020 and helped the Germans qualify for Qatar. At 33, he could also be previous his peak years, however Müller has been spectacular in Bayern’s previous two league-winning campaigns (19 objectives and 37 assists) and is certain to stay a big a part of Germany’s plans.

This 12 months’s World Cup look shall be Japan’s seventh in a row. Whereas the Samurai Blue has reached the knockout stage on three of these events, Qatar is prone to current a trickier take a look at for Asia’s second-highest-ranked group.


Beginning in 1998, Japan has certified for each World Cup, reaching the spherical of 16 thrice.

Beginning in 1998, Japan has certified for each World Cup, reaching the spherical of 16 thrice.

Beginning in 1998, Japan has certified for each World Cup, reaching the spherical of 16 thrice.

Japan’s run on the 2018 World Cup ended within the spherical of 16, equaling its earlier greatest lead to 2002 and 2010. In that knockout sport, the Japanese took an early 2-0 lead in opposition to Belgium however conceded three objectives in succession to lose. The four-game stretch in Russia nonetheless had its positives, although: Japan’s opening 2-1 win over Colombia marked the primary time an Asian nation had overwhelmed a South American nation at a World Cup, and it earned a draw in opposition to a strong Senegal squad in its subsequent match.

The Japanese secured Asia’s ultimate computerized qualifying berth with a 2-0 win over Australia in March, ok to complete second of their group and keep away from a playoff. They’ll arrive in Qatar on the heels of some confidence-boosting outcomes the previous few months: In June, it misplaced by a slim 1-0 margin to match favourite Brazil and beat the US, 2-0, in September.


Coach

Hajime Moriyasu

54 years previous

Most of Japan’s squad in 2018 was unfold between two leagues (the nationwide J1 League and Germany’s Bundesliga), however the group for this 12 months’s match ought to have a higher attain internationally’s prime leagues. Wingers Takumi Minamino (Monaco) and Junya Ito (Reims) are each now in France, whereas different attacking skills like Genki Haraguchi (Union Berlin) and Ao Tanaka (Fortuna Düsseldorf) play in Germany. Takehiro Tomiyasu, who normally pairs at heart again with longtime captain Maya Yoshida (Schalke), performs for Arsenal within the Premier League.


Takumi Minamino

27 years previous, Izumisano, Japan

AS Monaco

Takumi Minamino

27 years previous, Izumisano, Japan

AS Monaco

Takumi Minamino

27 years previous, Izumisano, Japan

AS Monaco

After lacking out on a spot in Japan’s squads on the 2014 and 2018 tournaments, Minamino will make his World Cup debut in Qatar. The 27-year-old moved to England in a high-profile switch in 2019, changing into the primary Japanese participant to signal for Liverpool after a profitable six-year stint with Crimson Bull Salzburg in Austria. He was a part of the squad that received the Premier League in 2020 however by no means noticed vital enjoying time. The joint main scorer for Japan throughout World Cup qualifying with 10 objectives, Minamino ought to have extra high quality minutes underneath his belt after this summer season’s transfer to Monaco.

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