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FIFA World Cup 2022 Preview: Group E


(Goal.com)



Although many will be looking at other groups for “the group of death”, Group E should not be overlooked. Spain, Germany, Costa Rica and Japan will be fighting for qualification and each side doesn’t shy away from their respective talents. The favourites to qualify in Group E are Spain and Germany but that being said, their track records in recent tournaments have shown that even the biggest giants can fall. Both squads are currently in a state of rebuilding to their former glory so Japan and Costa Rica will look to capitalize on the weak points and get through to the next round.


Spain

(Telecom Asia)


Matches:

November 23rd vs Costa Rica

November 27th vs Germany

December 1st vs Japan


Last World Cup Performance: Round of 16 elimination in 2018


Spain is coming into this World Cup in a similar position to their opponents Germany, a nation that used to dominate the international stage but is now attempting to rebuild in a youth-leading way. At face value, the Spaniards look weaker than in previous years but looking closer they have a lot of hidden gems that will be a threat to any team. They still have the likes of Cesar Azpilicueta, Sergio Busquets, Koke and Morata to have an impact on morale in the locker room but they are overshadowed by their rising stars.


Look out for FC Barcelona’s duo of Pedri Gonzalez and Golden Boy winner Gavi to control that midfield alongside Marcos Llorente and Manchester City’s engine Rodri Hernandez. This squad will have a newfound pace to its game with Ansu Fati and Nico Williams who have been clinical for their respective teams in La Liga. There will be no David De Gea this time around so expect Unai Simon to start in goal surrounded by a defence of Aymeric Laporte, Jordi Alba, Pau Torres and Dani Carvajal, a defensive line that has a lot to prove in this tournament and could arguably be their weakest link.


Squad:

Goalkeepers: Unai Simon (Athletic Bilbao), Robert Sanchez (Brighton), David Raya (Brentford).


Defenders: Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Eric Garcia (Barcelona), Hugo Guillamon (Valencia), Pau Torres (Villarreal), Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Jose Gaya (Valencia).


Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Rodri Hernandez (Manchester City), Gavi (Barcelona), Carlos Soler (Paris St-Germain), Marcos Llorente (Atletico Madrid), Pedri Gonzalez (Barcelona), Koke Resurreccion (Atletico Madrid).


Forwards: Ferran Torres (Barcelona), Nico Williams (Athletic Bilbao), Yeremi Pino (Villarreal), Alvaro Morata (Atletico Madrid), Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Pablo Sarabia (Paris St Germain), Dani Olmo (RB Leipzig), Ansu Fati (Barcelona).



Costa Rica

(Forbes)


Matches:

November 23rd vs Spain

November 27th vs Japan

December 1st vs Germany


Last World Cup Performance: First-round group stage elimination in 2018


The CONCACAF team in this group is Costa Rica, and they will have a tough challenge with the powerhouses of Germany and Spain but could go under the radar once again. Unlike their quarter-final knockout shock in 2014, their 2018 campaign saw them unable to get out of the group stage. That being said, they still have some pieces that could factor into obtaining good results.

Keylor Navas is the standout player who returns for his 3rd World Cup alongside Joel Campbell, Celso Borges and Bryan Ruiz. Former Arsenal youth player Campbell will look to make the biggest impact upfront but new star Jewison Bennette will also be one to watch to give Costa Rica a fighting chance. They managed to accomplish some unthinkable moments in 2014, so don’t ride them off just yet, anything could happen in this tough group.


Squad:

Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas (Paris St Germain), Esteban Alvarado (Herediano), Patrick Sequeira (CD Lugo).


Defenders: Francisco Calvo (Konyaspor), Juan Pablo Vargas (Millonarios FC), Kendall Waston (Saprissa), Oscar Duarte (Al-Wehda), Daniel Chacon (Colorado Rapids), Keysher Fuller (Herediano), Carlos Martinez (San Carlos), Bryan Oviedo (Real Salt Lake), Ronald Matarrita (Cincinnati).


Midfielders: Yeltsin Tejeda (Herediano), Celso Borges (Alajuelense), Youstin Salas (Saprissa), Roan Wilson (Grecia), Gerson Torres (Herediano), Douglas Lopez (Herediano) Jewisson Bennette (Sunderland), Alvaro Zamora (Saprissa), Anthony Hernandez (Puntarenas FC), Brandon Aguilera (Nottingham Forest), Bryan Ruiz (Alajuelense).


Forwards: Joel Campbell (Leon), Anthony Contreras (Herediano) Johan Venegas (Alajuelense).


Germany

(Eurosport)


Matches:

November 23rd vs Japan

November 27th vs Spain

December 1st vs Costa Rica


Last World Cup Performance: First-round group stage elimination in 2018


The 2014 FIFA World Cup winners are the third country in Group E and are simultaneously one of the favourites in the tournament. The Die Mannschaft have a strong group of players that is no doubt, they have veterans who will be able to rally the rest of the squad and also some phenomenal youth talents who will certainly have an impact if and when they are given the chance.


Expect the likes of young star Jamal Musiala and fellow Bayern Munich teammates, Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane who have been on good form recently to give an agile element added to the physically strong midfield and defence. Leon Goretzka, Joshua Kimmich and Ilkay Gundogan are looking in good form to start in that midfield and in front of Antonio Rudiger, Niklas Sule and Nico Schlotterbeck, this side will be tough to crack through.


Squad:

Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona), Kevin Trapp (Eintracht Frankfurt)


Defenders: Armel Bella-Kotchap (Southampton), Matthias Ginter (SC Freiburg), Christian Gunter (SC Freiburg), Thilo Kehrer (West Ham), Lukas Klostermann (RB Leipzig), David Raum (RB Leipzig), Antonio Rudiger (Real Madrid), Nico Schlotterbeck (Borussia Dortmund), Niklas Sule (Borussia Dortmund)


Midfielders: Julian Brandt (Borussia Dortmund), Leon Goretzka (Bayern Munich), Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City), Jonas Hofmann (RB Leipzig), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich),


Forwards: Karim Adeyemi (Borussia Dortmund), Niclas FullKrug (Werder Bremen), Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich), Mario Gotze (Eintracht Frankfurt), Kai Havertz (Chelsea), Youssoufa Moukoko (Borussia Dortmund), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Leroy Sane (Bayern Munich)


Japan

(Daily Sabah)


Matches:

November 23rd vs Germany

November 27th vs Costa Rica

December 1st vs Japan


Last World Cup Performance: Round of 16 elimination in 2018


The Japanese national team has had some young talents come through the ranks since their last trial at a World Cup in 2018 where they managed to get out of a pretty competitive group. Their squad will look to repeat the same fate and more as they have never been past the round of 16 at a World Cup. Coming off of a runner-up medal in the AFC Asian Cup back in 2019, Japan has a lot of players to look toward for success.


As for their stars to look out for, Takefusa Kubo, Junya Ito and Takuma Asano will surely bring some flare and pace to their attack going forward. Ito looks to be the main man for Japan after contributing 29 times for KRC Genk last season which got him a $10 million transfer to French club Stade Reims in the summer. A few familiar names to help in the back are Takehiro Tomiyasu, veteran Yuto Nagatomo as well as Maya Yoshida to solidify the backline. Japan has some hidden gems going into this tournament but also some stiff competition.


Squad:

Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Strasbourg), Shuichi Gonda (Shimizu S-Pulse), Daniel Schmidt (Sint-Truidense).


Defenders: Yuto Nagatomo (Tokyo), Maya Yoshida (Schalke 04), Hiroki Sakai (Urawa Red Diamonds), Shogo Taniguchi (Kawasaki Frontale), Miki Yamane (Kawasaki Frontale), Ko Itakura (Borussia Monchengladbach), Takehiro Tomiyasu (Arsenal), Hiroki Ito (Stuttgart).


Midfielders: Gaku Shibasaki (Leganes), Wataru Endo (Stuttgart), Junya Ito (Reims), Takumi Minamino (Monaco), Hidemasa Morita (Sporting CP), Daichi Kamada (Eintracht Frankfurt), Yuki Soma (Nagoya Grampus), Kaoru Mitoma (Brighton & Hove Albion), Ritsu Doan (Freiburg), Ao Tanaka (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Takefusa Kubo (Real Sociedad).


Forwards: Takuma Asano (Bochum), Daizen Maeda (Celtic), Ayase Ueda (Cercle Brugge), Shuto Machino (Shonan Bellmare).

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