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World Cup: Group E preview

Group E features two of Europe's footballing heavyweights, Spain and Germany, along with Japan and Costa Rica.

Spain are narrow favourites at 5/6 to top the group ahead of 6/5 shots Germany, while either 10/1 Japan or 33/1 outsiders Costa Rica would be a shock winner of the section.

WhatWorld Cup
WhereQatar
When20th November - 18th December 2022
How to watchAll matches will be shown on either the BBC or ITV
OddsBrazil 9/2, England 11/2, France 6/1, Argentina 7/1, Spain 8/1

Two of the last three World Cup winners meet in Group E with 2010 champions Spain drawn alongside Germany, who lifted the trophy for the fourth time in their history in 2014.

Both big guns disappointed at the 2018 World Cup in Russia although Spain's young side were looking good at Euro 2020 before losing on penalties to champions Italy in the semi-finals.

Japan are regulars at World Cup finals, having qualified for every tournament since 1998, but the Blue Samurai have never got beyond the round of 16.

Costa Rica enjoyed a surprise run to the last eight at the 2014 World Cup and their 2022 squad is likely to feature several survivors from that tournament, including captain Bryan Ruiz, midfielder Celso Borges and Paris St-Germain goalkeeper Keylor Navas.

Who has been drawn in Group E?

Spain impressed during their run to the semi-finals of Euro 2020 and they finished top of their World Cup qualifying group, four points clear of runners-up Sweden.

CountryManagerCaptainBest Ever Finish

Odds To Qualify From
Group E

Odds To Win
Group E

SpainLuis EnriqueSergio BusquetsWinners (2010)1/95/6
GermanyHansi FlickManuel NeuerWinners (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014)1/66/5
JapanHajime MoriyasuMaya YoshidaRound of 16 (2002, 2010, 2018)10/310/1
Costa RicaLuis Fernando SuarezBryan RuizQuarter-finals (2014)6/133/1

La Roja were crowned world champions in 2010 - between their triumphs at Euro 2008 and Euro 2012 - but they were knocked out in the group stage four years later and lost on penalties to Russia in the round of 16 in 2018.

Germany also cruised to automatic qualification, winning nine of their 10 Group J matches and scoring 36 goals. Die Mannschaft have a proud record at the World Cup, reaching the semi-finals on a record 13 occasions, although they finished bottom of a group containing Sweden, Mexico and South Korea at the 2018 finals.

Japan will be lining up at their seventh consecutive World Cup after finishing as runners-up to Saudi Arabia in their AFC third-round qualifying group.

They sealed their spot in Qatar thanks to a 2-0 win away to Australia in March 2022 and will be looking to get past the last-16 stage for the first time in their history.

Costa Rica finished fourth behind Canada, Mexico and the USA in Concacaf qualifying. That earned them a play-off against New Zealand in Qatar in June 2022 and a third-minute goal from former Arsenal winger Joel Campbell proved decisive, taking Los Ticos to the World Cup finals for the fifth time.

When are the Group E fixtures?

DateMatch numberTeam 1Team 2KO timeVenue
23rd November11GermanyJapan13:00

Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan

23rd November10SpainCosta Rica16:00

Al Thumama Stadium, Doha

27th November25JapanCosta Rica10:00

Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan

27th November

28SpainGermany19:00

Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor

1st December

43JapanSpain19:00

Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan

1st December

44Costa RicaGermany19:00

Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor

Plenty of first-round accumulators are likely to include Germany to beat Japan at 1/3 and Spain at 1/4 to see off Costa Rica.

Spain are 8/1 to lift the trophy with Germany 10/1, so all eyes will be on the clash between the big two in the group on 27th November.

On the same day Japan and Costa Rica will be bidding for a win that could keep alive their qualification hopes before tough final fixtures on 1st December.

Related World Cup Group E News

World Cup - Football: Costa Rica team profile

World Cup - Football: Germany team profile

World Cup - Football: Japan team profile

World Cup - Football: Spain team profile

Who are the players to look out for in Group E?

The Spain and Germany squads lack standout individual stars and that is reflected in the odds on their forwards in the World Cup Golden Boot betting. Spain's Alvaro Morata and Ferran Torres are in contention to be the top tournament goalscorer, while 40/1 youngster Karim Adeyemi is expected to be Germany's leading marksman.

Brilliant young Barcelona midfielders Pedri and Gavi are players to watch for Spain while Germany coach Hansi Flick has a strong spine to his team including goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, Real Madrid centre-back Antonio Rudiger and midfielders Joshua Kimmich, Ilkay Gundogan and Leon Goretzka.

Costa Rica keeper Navas, who has had a trophy-laden career with Real Madrid and Paris St-Germain, is likely to be busy in Los Ticos' Group E matches.

Japan's Takehiro Tomiyasu has impressed at right-back for Arsenal over the past two seasons and Brighton winger Kaoru Mitoma, who scored two late goals in the qualifying win over Australia, is also hoping to establish himself in the Premier League.

Who could be the breakout stars in Group E?

Spain's midfield schemer Pedri was named Young Player of the Tournament at Euro 2020 and his Barcelona team-mate Ansu Fati will be hoping to have a similar impact if he makes Luis Enrique's World Cup squad.

Germany teenager Jamal Musiala has developed into a top-class attacking midfielder for Bayern Munich and he has the ability to thrive on the international stage, while Japan winger Takefusa Kubo, now at Real Sociedad after joining Real Madrid at the age of 18 in 2019, is another exciting prospect.

Who will win Group E?

The betting suggests Spain and Germany are a cut above their Group E rivals and it is hard to disagree with that assessment.

Spain played some excellent football on their way to the last four of Euro 2020 and if they can sharpen up their finishing they could be serious trophy contenders in Qatar.

La Roja are worth backing to top the group ahead of Germany, who remain a work in progress under Flick but have the quality to avoid a repeat of 2018's early exit.

Japan are a limited side but they should come out on top against an ageing Costa Rica squad who made hard work of getting past New Zealand in the playoffs. 

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