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

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

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Any time earlier World Cup winners are drawn in the identical group, issues are certain to get attention-grabbing. Add in the truth that these former champions — on this yr’s case, Spain and Germany — have gained their most up-to-date titles prior to now 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 might be prepared to leap on any missteps.

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 staff on the earth than Spain, and it had the trophies to show it. La Roja gained three main titles from 2008 to 2012 — two European Championships and the 2010 World Cup — and with its distinctive techniques modified the final understanding of what nationwide groups might do. Now 10 years since its final trophy, Spain continues to be looking for the following iteration of its identification as a squad. Luis Enrique hopes he can uncover it in time for Qatar.


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

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

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

In the last decade because the Euro 2012 ultimate, Spain has principally disenchanted 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” model, a tactical system during which gamers search to dominate the ball via urgent, possession and brief passes, however after 2012, the remainder of the world started to catch up and learn to counter.

Spain made a breakthrough final summer season at Euro 2020, reaching the semifinals of a serious event 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 online of their ultimate two World Cup qualifiers in UEFA’s Group B final fall, however nonetheless managed to keep away from a playoff and robotically certified with a win over Sweden in November 2021.


Coach

Luis Enrique

52 years outdated

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 in the course of the qualifying marketing campaign. Barcelona’s Ferran Torres led with 4 targets, however Spain as a staff 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 targets since final July. Players like Real Sociedad winger Mikel Oyarzabal (if wholesome) and Manchester City midfielder Rodri will assist the trigger, and it could fall again on an skilled again line, led by Barcelona’s Jordi Alba and Real Madrid’s Dani Carvajal.

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

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Pedri

19 years outdated, Tegueste, Spain

FC Barcelona

Pedri

19 years outdated, Tegueste, Spain

FC Barcelona

Pedri

19 years outdated, 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 staff of the event at Euro 2020 after taking part in greater than 600 minutes throughout six begins for Spain. (After the event, Enrique stated he hadn’t seen a exhibiting like that at a European Championship from any 18-year-old, not even legendary Spanish midfielder Andrés Iniesta.) Less than two weeks later, Pedri flew to Japan and helped Spain’s squad earn an Olympic silver medal on the Tokyo Games. He’s certain to make an impression at his first World Cup.

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


Costa Rica

within the World Cup

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

Costa Rica

within the World Cup

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

Costa Rica

within the World Cup

This might be Costa Rica’s sixth look within the World Cup. Its greatest end result 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 bunch 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.

In their first eight video games of this qualifying cycle, the Costa Ricans gained 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 yr arrived, although, Los Ticos went unbeaten in six. Despite Costa Rica’s win over the United States in its ultimate recreation, aim differential decided it might head to an inter-confederation playoff for a spot within the World Cup. Playing 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 outdated

The majority 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 Real Salt Lake this summer season after greater than 10 years in Europe. Campbell had three targets throughout qualifying and is off to a great begin to the Mexican membership season with León. Winger Jewison Bennette is barely 18, however he could possibly be the nation’s subsequent large star: Days after scoring his first aim for English facet Sunderland in September, he discovered the online twice for Costa Rica in a pleasant.

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Keylor Navas

35 years outdated, San Isidro de El General, Costa Rica

Paris Saint-Germain

Keylor Navas

35 years outdated, San Isidro de El General, Costa Rica

Paris Saint-Germain

Keylor Navas

35 years outdated, San Isidro de El General, Costa Rica

Paris Saint-Germain

Keylor Navas has twice been named the Concacaf participant of the yr to go together with three greatest goalkeeper awards. On the membership stage, he gained three consecutive Champions League titles because the starter for Real Madrid and has claimed two league crowns since shifting to Paris Saint-Germain in 2019. At Brazil 2014, he stored three clear sheets in 5 matches — most memorably within the spherical of 16, holding Greece scoreless via regular time and a penalty shootout when his staff was all the way down to 10 males. Navas is not an everyday 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 staff identification, Germany hopes this event has a a lot completely different end result.


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

West Germany 3,

Hungary 2

Netherlands 1,

West Germany 2

West Germany 1, Argentina

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

West Germany 3,

Hungary 2

Netherlands 1,

West Germany 2

West Germany 1, Argentina

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

West Germany 1,

Argentina

West Germany 3,

Hungary 2

Netherlands 1,

West Germany 2

Those early event 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 during which 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 yr faraway from the defeat to England, the Germans have seen a resurgence by the hands of recent supervisor Hansi Flick (an assistant underneath Löw in 2014) and with a core of gamers from perennial Bundesliga champion Bayern Munich.

The the rest of the World Cup qualifying marketing campaign supplied the primary actual alternative for Flick to impose a brand new identification on this German facet, and his plans labored. Germany was the primary staff, 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 outdated

In two seasons from 2019 to 2021, Flick managed powerhouse Bayern Munich to 2 league titles, a FIFA Club World Cup and a Champions League crown. It’s no shock that a lot of his Germany staff 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. With RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner out with a year-ending ankle injury, Chelsea’s Kai Havertz appears set for a giant function at his first World Cup. .

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Thomas Müller

33 years outdated, Weilheim in Oberbayern, Germany

Bayern Munich

Thomas Müller

33 years outdated, Weilheim in Oberbayern, Germany

Bayern Munich

Thomas Müller

33 years outdated, Weilheim in Oberbayern, Germany

Bayern Munich

Thomas Müller was a commanding presence throughout Germany’s earlier profitable World Cup runs: The Bayern attacker gained the Golden Boot with 5 targets in 2010 and earned the Silver Ball because the event’s second-best participant in 2014. The nation’s most embellished participant spent two years out of competition in the course of 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 targets and 37 assists) and is bound to stay a big a part of Germany’s plans.

This yr’s World Cup look might be Japan’s seventh in a row. While the Samurai Blue has reached the knockout stage on three of these events, Qatar is more likely to current a trickier check for Asia’s second-highest-ranked staff.


Starting in 1998, Japan has certified for each World Cup, reaching the spherical of 16 3 times.

Starting in 1998, Japan has certified for each World Cup, reaching the spherical of 16 3 times.

Starting in 1998, Japan has certified for each World Cup, reaching the spherical of 16 3 times.

Japan’s run on the 2018 World Cup ended within the spherical of 16, equaling its earlier greatest end in 2002 and 2010. In that knockout recreation, the Japanese took an early 2-0 lead towards Belgium however conceded three targets 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 crushed a South American nation at a World Cup, and it earned a draw towards 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, adequate 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 slender 1-0 margin to event favourite Brazil and beat the United States, 2-0, in September.


Coach

Hajime Moriyasu

54 years outdated

Hajime Moriyasu determined to prioritize youth and potential over expertise in naming his squad: Just six gamers on the 26-man roster additionally performed within the staff on the 2018 version of the World Cup. This yr’s roster does have a larger attain internationally’s prime leagues, although. Wingers Takumi Minamino (Monaco) and Junya Ito (Reims) are each now in France, whereas midfielders Wataru Endo (Stuttgart) and Ao Tanaka (Fortuna Düsseldorf) play in Germany’s Bundesliga. Takehiro Tomiyasu, who often pairs at middle again with longtime captain Maya Yoshida (Schalke), performs for Arsenal within the Premier League.


Takumi Minamino

27 years outdated, Izumisano, Japan

AS Monaco

Takumi Minamino

27 years outdated, Izumisano, Japan

AS Monaco

Takumi Minamino

27 years outdated, 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 Red Bull Salzburg in Austria. He was a part of the squad that gained the Premier League in 2020 however by no means noticed important taking part in time. The joint main scorer for Japan throughout qualifying with 10 targets, Minamino will hope to rebound from a gradual begin at Monaco with a robust exhibiting for the nationwide staff.

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