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Qatar 2022 World Cup: Analysis of Group E – Favourites and talents to watch out for

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By Martin Graham | 1st Nov 2022

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is fast approaching and as you would expect, we will continue to bring you all the breakdown for all the nations and their chances of winning the tournament in Qatar. This time we turn all attention to Group E, a very very exciting group.

Group E could be regarded as one of the tougher groups at the World Cup. The group consists of two former World and European champions Germany and Spain, North American nation, Costa Rica and Asian giants, Japan.

Spain who won their first and only World Cup title in 2010 have all it takes to go all the way in Qatar. Their impressive run at the Euros and beyond have shown the World what to expect from Luis Enrique’s side who now will surely be seen as contenders. These are exciting times for the country as La Roja look to be playing their best football probably since winning Euro 2012.

Die Mannschaft went through some rough times after their World Cup triumph in 2014. Their disgraceful group stage exit in Russia can be seen as the moment they reached rock bottom. But when you reach rock bottom, there is only an inevitable climb back up.

Like Spain, they have added youth and hunger to their ranks and look like they are a serious team again. They have made their way back from that low point and will be looking to show the world just how far they’ve come.

The Japanese National team have developed a habit of not following through on their good work in important games at the World Cup. In their last appearance at Russia, they surrendered a two goal lead to Belgium and lost 2-3. This time around, they go into Qatar as heavy underdogs to even advance from the group.

Costa Rica will be looking to replicate their wonderful run to the quarterfinals in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil but will need to be an even better team than they were eight years ago to accomplish this.

Who are the favorites in Group E?

In a group that has two World Cup powerhouses, it is difficult to give any room for the other countries to advance from the group. The likes of Japan and Costa Rica would have to conjure up something spectacular to be able to make it out of the group.

Germany have undergone a steady and affective transition from one successful era of very experienced players to the younger and hungrier players. The likes of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Karim Adeyemi and most importantly the supremely gifted Jamal Musiala will be crucial for their country while experienced players like Thomas Muller, Josua Kimmich, Ilkay Gundogan and Manuel Neuer still remain as leaders.

Elsewhere, Spain have their own impressive crop of emerging young talent. Gavi and Pedri have won the last two Kopa and Golden Boy awards, Ansu Fati looks like his injury woes are behind him and Nico Williams is having a breakout season at Atletic Bilbao. Along with the experiance of the likes of Sergio Busquets, Rodri, Jordi Alba and Alvaro Morata, La Roja have a legitimate team that will be contenders.

The Costa Ricans booked their place in Qatar after seeing New Zealand off in their intercontinental playoff fixture. In a keenly contested fixture, they had former Gunners striker Joel Campbell to thank for his sole strike.

Los Ticos will know that a potential path to the knockout stages will involve beating teams that outclass themselves by a good margin and the fans will support their nation with tempered expectation.

Though the Japanese have been regulars at the World Cup of late, they have not made much of an impact. The Samurai Blue will try their best to change their fortunes this time around but the reality of the situation is that they will most likely be swept aside due to the gulf in class.

The odds for each team according to the bookies are as follows;
Spain (-110)
Germany (+110)
Japan (+1100)
Costa Rica (+4000)

Who can advance to the next round?

The odds above show how the gulf in quality between the top two and the rest will affect qualification. Germany and Spain have undergone rebuilds that have involved the introduction of young talent which has helped add hunger and flair to the tram while the experienced players have assumed leadership roles, allowing their young teammates to flourish. They both look like sides you will see in key World Cup games this year so it is quite difficult to see either of both sides miss out on qualification.

Nothing is impossible in football and these two teams know all too well what it feels like to crash out of the tournament in the group stages. Japan and Costa Rica will do everything in their power to play spoiler and put themselves in position to qualify for the knockout stages. Shocks like that do happen but in this case will be highly unlikely.

Who are the best Players?

There is no gainsaying that Germany and Spain are concentrated with the bulk of quality available in this group. Both sides have established players in every area of the pitch. Here are the best players in the group.

Manuel Neuer: The legendary Bayern Munich goal keeper is widely seen as on of the pioneers of modern goalkeeping in football. This could be the last World Cup appearance for the German number one and he will look to end it on a high note.

Pedri: The young Barcelona midfielder has grown to become one of the most important parts of his team for Club and Country. After having a breakout tournament for Spain at the Euros, he will be looking to replicate that form or even be better than that at the World Cup.

Takumi Minamino: The former Liverpool star will look to put all his abilities on show for his country and lead them to a good run.

Keylor Navas: The PSG goalie is undoubtedly the biggest export of his nation. He will be looking to have another great tournament between the sticks.

Talents to watch out for

Spain

Gavi: The 18-year-old midfielder has continued to garner huge praise and commendations for his natural ability and maturity on the ball. He is the reigning Kopa Trophy winner and will be looking to out his talents on fill display in Qatar.

Germany

Jamal Musiala: Musiala is currently having a breakout season in Germany and has become one of the most influential players for club and country. He is already one of the elite midfielders in world football and will be important for his country.

Japan

Takefusa Kubo: The 21-year-old Real Sociedad forward is making strides in La Liga and could excel in Qatar.

Costa Rica

Brandon Aguilera: The 19-year-old, currently sent out on loan by Nottingham forest, is a huge prospect and could be very key for his team in Qatar.

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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