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

Jamal Musiala Germany World Cup Group E preview
FILE – Germany’s Jamal Musiala, left, challenges for the ball with England’s Declan Rice during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between England and Germany at the Wembley Stadium in London, England, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

Two of the most storied European powers square off for Group E bragging rights at the World Cup — but tricky underdogs in 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 his side’s second goal against United States during a qualifying soccer match for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 in San Jose, Costa Rica, Wednesday, March 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)
  • FIFA Rank: 34th
  • Qualification: Defeated New Zealand in inter-confederation play-off
  • Previous World Cup appearances: 5
  • Best finish: Quarterfinals (2014)
  • Odds to win group: +5000
  • Odds to make knockout stage: +700
  • Odds to win World Cup: +80000

Costa Rica’s gameplan is as clear as ever — and it can be seen from here all the way to Qatar. Defense is the name of the game and they are going to sit back and force the opposition to come at them in hopes of frustrating them into mistakes.

X-Factor: Keylor Navas Costa Rica’s greatest soccer export ever, the veteran goalkeeper is not getting nearly the kind of playing time with PSG due to injury issues and playing second fiddle to Gianluigi Donnarumma. If there’s rust to his game, Costa Rica is in trouble.

Costa Rica World Cup Roster

Position Player Club
Goalkeeper Keylor Navas PSG
Goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado Herediano
Goalkeeper Patrick Sequeira Lugo
Defender Juan Pablo Vargas Millonarios
Defender Keysher Fuller Herediano
Defender Oscar Duarte Al-Wehda
Defender Bryan Oviedo Real Sal Lake
Defender Francisco 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 Grecia
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 Rank: 11th
  • Qualification: Group J winners in UEFA qualifying
  • Previous World Cup appearances: 19
  • Best finish: Champions (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014)
  • Odds to win group: +115
  • Odds to make knockout stage: -650
  • Odds to win World Cup: +1000

One of the most successful nations in World Cup history, Germany has a chance to erase the shock of crashing out of the group stage in 2018 before falling to England in the Round of 16 at the Euros. They have plenty of playmaking options, but their defense is a major question mark that will test their mettle far more than the qualifying rounds.

X-Factor: Antonio Rudiger Nineteen-year-old attacking midfielder Jamal Musiala is a worthy choice here, but it has to be Rudiger. The center-back was pivotal in Chelsea’s run to the Champions League two years ago and will be just as important to Germany’s run in the World Cup considering he may just well have to carry the back line, which is full of holes heading to Qatar. Other center options are slow and the coverage out wide has been concerning.

Germany World Cup Roster

Position Player Club
Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer 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 Kostermann 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 Hofmann Borussia Mönchengladbach
Midfielder Julian 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 Niclas Fullkrug Werder Bremen
Forward Youssoufa Moukoko Borussia Dortmund

 

Japan

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

They’re fast, they’re patient, and they can strike at any time. Such has been the blueprint of Japan since first breaking onto the World Cup stage in 1998. And while they’ve never advanced past the Round of 16, they won’t be a pushover against the likes of Germany and Spain.

X-Factor: Daichi Kamada Japan made some questionable decisions with their attacking choices for the World Cup, leaving out more experienced strikers for younger, more unproven options. Kamada is just as unproven for the Blue Samurai, but he’s excelled this season at Eintracht Frankfurt. His seven goals in Bundesliga play ranks third-highest in the league.

Japan World Cup Roster

Position Player Club
Goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima Strasbourg
Goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda Shimizu S-Pulse
Goalkeeper Daniel Schmidt Sint-Truiden
Defender Takehiro Tomiyasu Arsenal
Defender Shogo Taniguchi Kawasaki Frontale
Defender Yuto Nagatomo FC Tokyo
Defender Miki Yamane Kawasaki Frontale
Defender Maya Yoshida Schalke 04
Defender Hiroki Sakai Urawa Red Diamonds
Defender Hiroki Ito Stuttgart
Defender Ko Itakura Borussia Mönchengladbach
Midfielder Gaku Shibasaki Leganes
Midfielder Takumi Minamino Monaco
Midfielder Takefusa Kubo Real Sociedad
Midfielder Hidemasa Morita Sporting CP
Midfielder Wataru Endo Stuttgart
Midfielder Junya Ito Reims
Midfielder Ao Tanaka Fortuna Dusseldorf
Midfielder Kaoru Mitoma Brighton
Midfielder Daichi Kamada Eintracht Frankfurt
Midfielder Ritsu Doan Freiburg
Midfielder Yuki Soma Nagoya Grampus
Forward Ayase Ueda Cercle Brugge
Forward Takuma Asano Bochum
Forward Daizen Maeda Celtic
Forward Shuto Machino Shonan Belmmare

 

Spain

Pedri Spain World Cup
FILE – Spain’s Pedri Gonzalez (16) and Ivory Coast’s Eboue Kouassi vie for the ball in a men’s quarterfinal soccer match at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 31, 2021, in Rifu, Japan, Tokyo. (AP Photo/Andre Penner, File)
  • FIFA Rank: 7th
  • Qualification: Group B winners in UEFA qualifying
  • Previous World Cup appearances: 15
  • Best finish: Champions (2010)
  • Odds to win group: -115
  • Odds to make knockout stage: -750
  • Odds to win World Cup: +850

After winning its first-ever World Cup in 2010, Spain has been a disappointment on the grand stage, failing to make it out of the group stage in 2014 before bowing out of the Round of 16 four years ago in Russia. They’re in better shape now and will be on the attack in Qatar.

X-Factor: Ferran Torres If Spain is lacking anything, it’ll be found up front. La Roja needs a pure, goal-scoring sniper to help finish off its attractive style of play — and Torres will be one of the men up front to do that. He has five goals in 18 games across all competitions this season with Barcelona. Three of them have come in five matches on the heightened stage of the Champions League. 

Spain World Cup Roster

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 Pau Torres Villarreal
Defender Jordi Alba Barcelona
Defender Jose Luis Gaya Valencia
Defender Hugo Guillamon Valencia
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 Atletico Madrid
Midfielder Marcos Llorente Atletico Madrid
Forward Pablo Sarabia PSG
Forward Nico Williams Athletic Bilbao
Forward Marco Asensio Real Madrid
Forward Alvaro Morata Atletico Madrid
Forward Ferran Torres Barcelona
Forward Ansu Fati Barcelona
Forward Yeremy Pino Villarreal
Forward Dani Olmo RB Leipzig

*Odds courtesy of DraftKings

 

2022 World Cup Group E schedule

Date Match Time TV
Wednesday, Nov. 23 Germany v. Japan 8 AM FS1
Wednesday, Nov. 23 Spain v. Costa Rica 11 AM FOX
Sunday, Nov. 27 Japan v. Costa Rica 5 AM FS1
Sunday, Nov. 27 Spain v. Germany 2 PM FOX
Thursday, Dec. 1 Japan v. Spain 2 PM FOX
Thursday, Dec. 1 Costa Rica v. Germany 2 PM FS1

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