There are two clear favorites in Group E of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but the final standings don’t always work out based on the projections.
There are only two berths to the knockout rounds from each group and European giants Spain and Germany looked primed to claim them in Group E, at least based on history. But that pedigree mattered little on the opening matchday as Germany fell to Japan 2-1.
Thanks to the victory, Japan gave themselves a strong shot at getting out of the group with a match against the weakest side, Costa Rica, left on its schedule. Los Ticos lost 7-0 to Spain in their opener.
Meanwhile, it’s desperation time for Germany when they face Spain in the second matchday. For many it’s the single most attractive matchup of the group stage taking place at Al Bayt Stadium. A loss against Spain coupled with a Japan victory against Costa Rica would mean group-stage elimination for the Germans.
World Cup Group E fixtures and match schedule
|Wed, Nov. 23||Germany 1, Japan 2||HIGHLIGHTS|
|Wed, Nov. 23||Spain 7, Costa Rica 0||HIGHLIGHTS|
|Sun, Nov. 27||Japan vs. Costa Rica||5 a.m.||Ahmad Bin Ali|
|Sun, Nov. 27||Spain vs. Germany||2 p.m.||Al Bayt|
|Thurs, Dec. 1||Japan vs. Spain||2 p.m.||Khalifa Int’l|
|Thurs, Dec. 1||Costa Rica vs. Germany||2 p.m.||Al Bayt|
The four teams are playing a round-robin format with each nation facing the other three. Group standings are based on points from those three group-stage matches — three points for a win, one for a draw, none for a loss.
The top two teams from each group based on total points advance to the single-game knockouts. If teams are tied on points, goal difference is the first tiebreaker, followed by goals scored. If teams are also tied in those categories another set of tiebreakers is applied.
World Cup Group E teams
Spain remain in something of a transitional phase heading into Qatar 2022, as they look to finally emulate the success last enjoyed on the global stage at the 2010 World Cup.
The emergence of prospects such as Pedri, Ferran Torres and Ansu Fati bodes well for the future, but it remains to be seen whether Spain will be strong enough to go all the way in Qatar. That said, their 2021 Nations League run — where La Roja were only beaten in the final by France — is another good sign.
Coach Luis Enrique hasn’t been afraid to drop big names such as David de Gea and Sergio Ramos from his squad, with an emphasis on creativity likely to make Spain very difficult to defend against.
- Current FIFA world ranking: No. 7 (November 2022)
- Regional ranking: 5th (UEFA)
- World Cup titles: 1
- World Cup appearances (last): 15 (Russia 2018)
- How qualified: UEFA Group B winners: 6W-1L-1D
- Coach: Luis Enrique (Spain) since November, 2019
- Key players: Pedri (Barcelona / Spain), Rodri (Manchester City / England), Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City / England)
Germany will be keen to make amends for a nightmare showing when trying to defend the title at the 2018 World Cup, as they enter a major tournament without Joachim Low for the first time in almost two decades.
Low served as assistant to Jurgen Klinsmann when Die Mannschaft plotted a path to the semifinals on home soil in 2006, before beginning his own acclaimed 15-year tenure as head coach.
The highlight of that era came as Germany lifted a fourth world title at Brazil 2014 and, after a disappointing European Championship campaign marked Low’s farewell last year, his former assistant, Hansi Flick, will lead an exciting new generation keen to make amends.
- Current FIFA world ranking: No. 11 (November 2022)
- Regional ranking: 9th (UEFA)
- World Cup titles: 4
- World Cup appearances (last): 19 (Russia 2018)
- How qualified: UEFA Group J winners: 9W-1L-0D
- Coach: Hansi Flick (Germany) since July, 2021
- Key players: Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich / Germany), Kai Havertz (Chelsea / England), Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich / Germany)
Japan’s national team has never gone beyond the Round of 16 stage at the World Cup but will be hopeful of enjoying a lengthy run at this year’s tournament.
There is a lot of experience in their squad but there are also some talented young prospects, such as Real Sociedad winger Takefusa Kubo. In addition, Japan boasts players with Premier League credentials, and many fans around the world will already be familiar with Arsenal’s Takehiro Tomiyasu and former Liverpool man Takumi Minamino.
Japan’s preparations for the tournament have gone well, having beaten off the challenge of Australia to qualify automatically in the AFC region, but it remains to be seen how well the Samurai Blue will fare when they come up against stronger opposition.
- Current FIFA world ranking: No. 24 (November, 2022)
- Regional ranking: 2nd (AFC)
- World Cup titles: —
- World Cup appearances (last): 7 (Russia 2018)
- How qualified: AFC Third Round Group B winners: 7W-2L-1D)
- Coach: Hajime Moriyasu (Japan) since August 2018
- Key players: Takumi Minamino (Monaco / France), Takehiro Tomiyasu (Arsenal / England), Maya Yoshida (Schalke / Germany)
Costa Rica’s fate was decided by the intercontinental playoff after finishing fourth in CONCACAF qualifying. International veterans Keylor Navas and Bryan Ruiz managed to top New Zealand 1-0 on a third minute goal from former Arsenal striker Joel Campbell.
Costa Rica is taking a younger group to the World Cup as the nation transitions from an older generation of players who gifted them some magical moments, including once winning a World Cup group featuring Italy, England, and Uruguay in 2014. That probably won’t happen here.
- Current FIFA world ranking: No. 31 (November 2022)
- Regional ranking: 3rd (CONCACAF)
- World Cup appearances (last): 5 (Russia 2018)
- Coach: Luis Fernando Suarez (Colombia) since July, 2021
- Key players: Bryan Ruiz (Alajuelense / Costa Rica), Joel Campbell (Leon / Mexico), Celso Borges (Alajuelense / Costa Rica)
World Cup Group E odds and predictions
Here are the odds for each team to win and qualify from the group, with odds provided by Sports Interaction (correct as of November, 2022).
Minus odds is what must be wagered to win $100 on that specific bet, while plus odds represent the winnings from a successful $100 wager.
The first-place and second-place finishers in Group E will move on to the Round of 16 and will face off against the two teams to advance from Group F on Monday, Dec. 5, and Tuesday, Dec. 6.
|Team||Group Winner||To Qualify|
The official FIFA 2022 World Cup match schedule outlines the following knockout pairings for the Round of 16 through to the final:
World Cup Round of 16
|Sat, Dec. 3||1A vs. 2B||10 a.m.||Khalifa Int’l|
|Sat, Dec. 3||1C vs. 2D||2 p.m.||Ahmad Bin Ali|
|Sun, Dec. 4||1D vs. 2C||10 a.m.||Al Thumama|
|Sun, Dec. 4||1B vs. 2A||2 p.m.||Al Bayt|
|Mon, Dec. 5||1E vs. 2F||10 a.m.||Al Janoub|
|Mon, Dec. 5||1G vs. 2H||2 p.m.||Stadium 974|
|Tues, Dec. 6||1F vs. 2E||10 a.m.||Education City|
|Tues, Dec. 6||1H vs. 2G||2 p.m.||Lusail|
World Cup Quarterfinals
|Fri, Dec. 9||QF1: 1E/2F vs. 1G/2H||10 a.m.||Education City|
|Fri, Dec. 9||QF2: 1A/2B vs. 1C/2D||2 p.m.||Lusail|
|Sat, Dec. 10||QF3: 1F/2E vs. 1H/2G||10 a.m.||Al Thumama|
|Sat, Dec. 10||QF4: 1B/2A vs. 1D/2C||2 p.m.||Al Bayt|
World Cup Semifinals
|Tues, Dec. 13||QF2 vs. QF1||2 p.m.||Lusail|
|Wed, Dec. 14||QF4 vs. QF3||2 p.m.||Al Bayt|
World Cup 3rd Place
|Sat, Dec. 17||Semifinal losers||10 a.m.||Khalifa Int’l|
World Cup Final
|Sun, Dec. 18||Semifinal winners||10 a.m.||Lusail|