2022 Qatar World Cup - Group E Preview

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Germany, Spain, Japan and Costa Rica badges with World Cup background

The 2022 Qatar World Cup is upon us with the opening game between Qatar and Ecuador set to kick off on Sunday afternoon.

Table of Contents

RealSport101's Harry Smith is on hand to preview the chances, tactics and key men for all four teams competing in Group C of the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

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Team Preview - Spain

Spain's rapid rise to the top of international football between 2008 and 2012 has been followed by a sharp fall. The former European heavyweights suffered group stage and round of 16 defeats at the past two world cups.

Luis Enrique has given this squad new life and the former Barcelona boss made some shock omissions in his 26-man squad, most notable being the decision to leave Manchester United stopper David De Gea out entirely.

Goals remain an issue for the Spaniards though. Gerard Moreno will miss the World Cup through injury and Alvaro Morata remains a source of frustration going forward. The quarter-finals will likely be the limit for this Spain side.

One to Watch - Eric Garcia

With goals hard to come by from an uninspiring attacking trio, defensive solidity will be central to any Spanish success at the 2022 World Cup.

Garcia's time in England went largely without success on the field, but the young centre-back has thrived at Barcelona and at just 21 years of age, he already has 18 senior international caps to his name.

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Luis Enrique's Nations League team selections indicate that he'll likely be preferred to Pau Torres as a partner for Aymeric Laporte this winter, and Garcia's passing range and composure will make him key to Spain's potential success.

Team Preview - Germany

Germany's progression had stagnated towards the end of Joachim Löw's reign and this was confirmed when Die Mannschaft finished bottom of a group containing Sweden, Mexico and South Korea in 2018.

Hansi Flick has breathed new life into this Germany squad, building around a strong core of Bayern Munich players while also handing opportunities to a blossoming young generation of attacking talents.

This will be the final World Cup for creative heartbeat Thomas Müller, but in Jamal Musiala the Germans have a ready-made replacement, while teenage sensation Youssoufa Moukoko is considered the next in a great line of German strikers that includes Gerd Muller, Rudi Völler and Miroslav Klose.

One to Watch - Niclas Füllkrug

While Moukoko is considered one for the future, Niclas Füllkrug's time is now. The Werder Bremen striker has notched ten goals in 14 games in the Bundesliga this season and is producing the best returns of his career at the most vital time.

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Füllkrug's scintillating form gives Hansi Flick both a dilemma and a solution with the 29-year-old offering an alternative to deploying Serge Gnabry through the middle.

Team Preview - Japan

Japan's route to World Cup qualification was comfortable in the initial stage, winning all eight of their group-stage games and conceding just two goals in the process.

A shaky start to the second round of qualification followed, but Japan would go on to win six consecutive matches, clinching their place in the World Cup finals thanks to a comfortable win against Australia.

A tough task lies ahead to oust one of Germany and Spain from the top two spots, but given their direct attacking style and talent throughout the lineup, Japan looks sure to make Group E an interesting contest.

One to Watch - Kaoru Mitoma

Kaoru Mitoma has been something of a revelation for Brighton in the Premier League this season, scoring in back-to-back games before the season broke off for the 2022 World Cup.

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Deployed off the left of a 4-2-3-1 system, Mitoma will likely be preferred to Takefaso Kubo by manager Hajime Moriyasu and will complement the attacking exploits of Frankfurt midfielder Daichi Kamada

Team Preview - Costa Rica

Costa Rica's route to the 2022 World Cup finals was anything but straightforward as they were forced to beat New Zealand in the intercontinental play-off to secure their place in the tournament.

Some familiar names remain from Costa Rica's miracle run at the 2014 Brazil World Cup including Keylor Navas, Bryan Ruiz and Joel Campbell, while Sunderland forward Jewison Bennette has added some youth.

In truth, this squad is a far cry from the one that thrived eight years ago. The same old heads remain the key men and there is a real absence of top-level talent in Luis Suarez's squad.

One to Watch - Joel Campbell

Joel Campbell was thrust into the spotlight back in 2014 as his lung-busting runs from out wide helped provide Costa Rica with the firepower they needed to achieve a shock quarter-final finish.

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Almost a decade on and the former Arsenal academy graduate has slipped back into obscurity, but Campbell remains a vital cog in the Costa Rica gameplan and will make his 120th international appearance at the World Cup this winter.

Group E Prediction

  1. Germany
  2. Spain
  3. Japan
  4. Costa Rica

Group E Fixtures

  • Germany vs Japan (Wed 23, 1 p.m.)
  • Spain vs Costa Rica (Wed 23, 4 p.m.)
  • Japan vs Costa Rica (Sun 27, 10 a.m.)
  • Spain vs Germany (Sun 27, 7 p.m.)
  • Japan vs Spain (Thu 1, 7 p.m.)
  • Costa Rica vs Germany (Thu 1, 7 p.m.)