“There’s no warm balls or cool balls; it’s all random!” says FIFA in response to claims that the 2022 World Cup draws might’ve been rigged. By FIFA’s solemn promise, fate is the sole force responsible for throwing up a compelling matchup in World Cup Group E, and we should be eternally grateful. This group will see Spain, Costa Rica, Germany, and Japan squaring to secure a prestigious spot in the competition’s last 16. Two teams out of this quartet – will proceed to the next stage, and each will firmly believe they can claim that honor. So who will it be, then? Is it Germany and Spain, the most potent duo on paper? Or is Japan capable of sneaking in? And what about plucky Costa Rica, who is no stranger to causing big upsets on the world stage?
Group E – No Easy Cruise For Germany And Spain
To the untrained soccer eye, Germany and Spain should almost coast their way through world cup Group E. To those fans, we might hand over the top two slots to the strong duo before kickoff. It’s logical on the surface. The pair are the most potent teams in E, blessed with an illustrious footballing history permeated with tremendous success in international tournaments. Spain was the World Cup champion in 2010, and Germany claimed the 2014 edition. They boast the world’s best players and have trainers who know a thing or two about soccer and winning. However, anybody who has kept a keen eye on proceedings in world football over the recent years, both club and international, knows not to take this at face value. With Spain ranked 6th, Germany 11th, Japan 24th, and Costa Rica 34th, these teams are not precisely eons apart strength-wise. Certainly not as far apart as teams in other groups. Plus, Germany is not firing on all cylinders at the moment. They’ve been woeful in their Nations League campaign (by their standards), eerily drawing 4 out of 5 of their June UNL matches by the same scoreline of 1-1. Spain has fared far better in the UNL but still flopped out in the group stage at World Cup 2014. They also couldn’t make it out of the last 16 in 2018 and now feature a young squad with scanty international experience.
Japan And Costa Rica To Upset The Group?
Germany and Spain face a stern test in the form of Japan and Costa Rica. The Central Americans emerged as winners from a group full of heavyweights England, Italy, and Uruguay, at World Cup 2014. The Costa Ricans went all the way to the quarter-finals in that memorable campaign in Brazil. Japan, on their part, possess quality players – the likes of Takumi Minamino – and breezed through their qualification pool with great ease. Could either Japan or the Costa Ricans pose a threat to Germany and Spain? It’s a great possibility. That’s perhaps why major bookies are offering attractive prices for Germany/Spain as group winners, Germany at 11/10 (+115) and Spain slightly more favored at 4/5 (-125). Japan is fancied at a long (but not impossible) 15 (+1400), and Costa Rica to pull off a miracle at 51 (+5000). The group winner could quickly come down to who wins Spain vs. Germany on November 27 in Al Kohr. It’s almost an even contest, with Spain at 31/20 (+155) and Germany at 7/4 (+175).