2022 World Cup Group E preview, teams, odds: Germany, Spain headline heavyweights

Two of Europe’s most storied powerhouses are battling it out for Group E bragging rights at the World Cup – but tricky underdogs Costa Rica and Japan are here to wreak havoc.

2022 World Cup Group E preview

Costa Rica

Kaylor Navas Costa Rica World Cup
Costa Rica’s goalkeeper Keylor Navas celebrates scoring his team’s second goal against the United States during a FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifying soccer match in San Jose, Costa Rica on Wednesday March 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)
  • FIFA Ranking: 34th
  • Qualification: Defeated New Zealand in the Inter-Confederation play-off
  • Previous appearances at the World Cup: 5
  • Best finish: Quarter-finals (2014)
  • Odds of winning the group: +5000
  • Odds of qualifying for the knockout stage: +700
  • Odds of winning the World Cup: +80000

Costa Rica’s game plan is clearer than ever – and it can be seen from here to Qatar. Defense is the name of the game and they will sit back and force the opposition to come at them in hopes of frustrating them into mistakes.

X Factor: Keylor Navas Costa Rica’s biggest football export to date, the veteran goalkeeper doesn’t have time to play for PSG due to injury issues and playing second fiddle to Gianluigi Donnarumma. If there is rust in their game, Costa Rica is in trouble.

Costa Rica World Cup lineup

Position Player club
Goalkeeper Clelor Navas PSG
Goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado Herediano
Goalkeeper Patrick Sequeira Lugo
Defender Juan Pablo Vargas Millionarios
Defender Keysher Fuller Herediano
Defender Oscar Duarte Al-Wehda
Defender Bryan Oviedo Real Sal Lake
Defender Francois Calvo Konyaspor
Defender Kendall Watson Deportivo Saprissa
Defender Carlos Martinez San Carlos
Defender Ronald Matarrita FC Cincinnati
Midfielder Celso Borges Alajuelense
Midfielder Jewison Bennette Sunderland
Midfielder Bryan Ruiz Alajuelense
Midfielder Daniel Cacon Colorado Rapids 2
Midfielder Anthony Hernandez Puntarenas
Midfielder Douglas Lopez Herediano
Midfielder Youstin Salas Saprissa
Midfielder Yeltsin Tejada Herediano
Midfielder Gerson Torres Herediano
Midfielder Roan Wilson Municipal Greece
Midfielder Alvaro Zamora Deportivo Saprissa
Midfielder Brandon Aguilera Nottingham Forest
Forward Anthony Contreras Herediano
Forward Johan Venegas Alajuelense
Forward Joel Campbell Leon

Germany

Jamal Musiala Germany World Cup
Bayern’s Jamal Musiala controls the ball during the German Bundesliga soccer match between FC Schalke 04 and Bayern Munich in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
  • FIFA Ranking: 11th
  • Qualification: Winner of Group J in UEFA Qualifiers
  • Previous appearances at the World Cup: 19
  • Best finish: Champions (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014)
  • Odds of winning the group: +115
  • Odds of qualifying for the knockout stage: -650
  • Odds of winning the World Cup: +1000

One of the most successful nations in World Cup history, Germany have a chance to erase the shock of group stage elimination in 2018 before falling to England in the round of 16 Euro final. They have plenty of play options, but their defense is a major question mark that will test their mettle much more than the qualifying rounds.

X factor: Antonio Rudiger 19-year-old attacking midfielder Jamal Musiala is a valid choice here, but it has to be Rudiger. The centre-back played a pivotal role in Chelsea’s Champions League run two years ago and will be equally important to Germany’s run to the World Cup given he may well have to carry the back line, which is full of holes in the direction of Qatar. Other center options are slow and scale coverage is a concern.

Germany World Cup lineup

Position Player club
Goalkeeper Neuer manual Bayern Munich
Goalkeeper Kevin Trapp Eintracht Frankfurt
Goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen Barcelona
Defender Thilo Kehrer West Ham
Defender Niklas Sule Borussia Dortmund
Defender Lukas Kosterman RB Leipzig
Defender Christian Gunter Freiburg
Defender Armel Bella-Kotchap Southampton
Defender David Raum RB Leipzig
Defender Antonio Rudiger real Madrid
Defender Nico Schlotterbeck Borussia Dortmund
Defender Matthias Ginter Freiburg
Midfielder Joshua Kimmich Bayern Munich
Midfielder Mario Gotze Eintracht Frankfurt
Midfielder Jonas Hofman Borussia Monchengladbach
Midfielder Julien Brandt Borussia Dortmund
Midfielder Leon Goretzka Bayern Munich
Midfielder Ilkay Gundogan Manchester City
Midfielder Kai Havertz chelsea
Midfielder Jamal Musiala Bayern Munich
Forward Leroy Sane Bayern Munich
Forward Thomas Muller Bayern Munich
Forward Serge Gnabry Bayern Munich
Forward Karim Adeyemi Borussia Dortmund
Forward Nicolas Fullkrug Werder Bremen
Forward Youssoufa Moukoko Borussia Dortmund

Japan

Daichi Kamada Japan World Cup
FILE – Japan’s Daichi Kamada is pictured before the international friendly soccer match between the United States and Japan in Dusseldorf, Germany, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)
  • FIFA Ranking: 24th
  • Qualification: Finished 2nd in Group B of AFC Qualifiers
  • Previous appearances at the World Cup: 6
  • Best finish: Round of 16 (2002, 2010, 2018)
  • Odds of winning the group: +1000
  • Odds of qualifying for the knockout stage: +300
  • Odds of winning the World Cup: +25000

They’re fast, they’re patient, and they can strike at any time. That’s been Japan’s plan since first breaking onto the World Cup stage in 1998. And although they’ve never made it past the knockout stages, they won’t be a breeze against Germany. and Spain.

X factor: Daichi Kamada Japan have made some questionable decisions with their attacking picks for the World Cup, leaving out more experienced forwards for younger, less proven options. Kamada is unproven for the Blue Samurai but he has excelled this season at Eintracht Frankfurt. His seven Bundesliga goals rank third in the league.

Japan World Cup lineup

Position Player club
Goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima Strasbourg
Goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda Shimizu S-Pulse
Goalkeeper Daniel Schmitt Sint-Truiden
Defender Takehiro Tomiyasu Arsenal
Defender Shogo Taniguchi Kawasaki Frontal
Defender Yuto Nagatomo FCTokyo
Defender Miki Yamane Kawasaki Frontal
Defender Maya Yoshida Schalke 04
Defender Hiroki Sakai Urawa Red Diamonds
Defender Hiroki Itō stuttgart
Defender Koh Itakura Borussia Monchengladbach
Midfielder Gaku Shibasaki Leganes
Midfielder Takumi Minamino monaco
Midfielder Takefusa Kubo Real Sociedad
Midfielder Hidemasa Morita sports CP
Midfielder Wataru Endo stuttgart
Midfielder Junya Itō Reims
Midfielder Ao Tanaka Fortuna Dusseldorf
Midfielder Kaoru Mitoma Brighton
Midfielder Daichi Kamada Eintracht Frankfurt
Midfielder Ritsu Doan Freiburg
Midfielder Yuki Soma Nagoya grandfather
Forward Ayase Ueda Circle Brugge
Forward Takuma Asano bochum
Forward Daizen Maeda Celtic
Forward Shuto Machino Shonan Belmare

Spain

Pedri Spain World Cup
FILE – Spain’s Pedri Gonzalez (16) and Ivorian Eboue Kouassi battle for the ball during a men’s quarter-final soccer match at the 2020 Summer Olympics on Saturday, July 31, 2021, in Rifu , Japan, Tokyo. (AP Photo/Andre Penner, File)
  • FIFA Ranking: 7th
  • Qualification: Winner of Group B in the UEFA qualifiers
  • Previous appearances at the World Cup: 15
  • Best finish: Champions (2010)
  • Odds of winning the group: -115
  • Odds of qualifying for the knockout stage: -750
  • Odds of winning the World Cup: +850

After winning their first-ever World Cup in 2010, Spain were a disappointment on the big stage, failing to qualify for the group stage in 2014 before dropping out of the knockout stages there. four years in Russia. They are in better shape now and will be on the attack in Qatar.

X Factor: Ferran Torres If something is missing in Spain, we will find it up front. La Roja need a pure, goal-scoring marksman to help them finish off their attractive style of play – and Torres will be one of the men up front to do that. He has five goals in 18 games in all competitions this season with Barcelona. Three of them have come in five appearances on the elevated Champions League stage.

Spain roster for the World Cup

Position Player club
Goalkeeper Unai Simon Athletic Bilbao
Goalkeeper Robert Sanchez Brighton
Goalkeeper David Raya Brentford
Defender Cesar Azpilicueta chelsea
Defender Dani Carvajal real Madrid
Defender Eric Garcia Barcelona
Defender Paul Torres Villarreal
Defender Jordi Alba Barcelona
Defender Jose Luis Gaya Valence
Defender Hugo Guillamon Valence
Defender Aymeric Laporte Manchester City
Midfielder Sergio Busquets Barcelona
Midfielder Rodri Manchester City
Midfielder Gavi Barcelona
Midfielder Pedri Barcelona
Midfielder Carlos Soler PSG
Midfielder Koke Atlético Madrid
Midfielder Marcos Llorente Atlético Madrid
Forward Pablo Sarabia PSG
Forward Nicholas Williams Athletic Bilbao
Forward Marco Asensio real Madrid
Forward Alvaro Morata Atlético Madrid
Forward Ferran Torres Barcelona
Forward Ansu Fati Barcelona
Forward Yeremi Pino Villarreal
Forward Dani Olmo RB Leipzig

*Odds are courtesy of DraftKings

2022 World Cup Group E schedule

Date Match Time TV
Wednesday, November 23 Germany v. Japan 8 a.m. FS1
Wednesday, November 23 Spain v. Costa Rica 11 a.m. FOX
Sunday November 27 Japan vs. Costa Rica 5am FS1
Sunday November 27 Spain v. Germany 2 p.m. FOX
Thursday, December 1 Japan v. Spain 2 p.m. FOX
Thursday, December 1 Costa Rica vs. Germany 2 p.m. FS1

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