2022 FIFA World Cup Preview and Predictions: Group E

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is fast approaching and we are bringing you a preview of every group ahead of the tournament, offering an insight into each team, as well as predictions as to who will progress to the knockout rounds. Below, we preview Group E that contains 2010 champions Spain, four-time winners Germany, 2014 quarter-finalists Costa Rica and 2002 hosts Japan.

The Teams:


Costa Rica



Group E Preview

Two heavyweights in the form of Spain and Germany clash in Group E of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and seem like almost guarantees to qualify for the knockouts. La Roja have been crowned champions just once – South Africa 2010 – whilst Die Mannschaft have won the tournament four times, most recently being in 2014 in Brazil. We all remember that 7-1 drubbing of the host nation by Miroslav Klose and Co.

Both Costa Rica and Japan have the same number of World Cup wins under their belt with five apiece and are the underdogs in Group E heading into the campaign. However, Los Ticos will aspire to reach similar heights to Brazil 2014, when they managed to reach the quarter finals, unexpectedly topping Group D ahead of Uruguay, Italy and England.

They also defeated Greece on penalties in the round of 16 before they were eventually thwarted by the Netherlands on penalties in the quarters. Nevertheless, it was an admirable performance overall by Costa Rica and one that they will fondly look back on for some time.

Samurai Blue have reached no further than the round of 16 in their World Cup history and last did so in Russia 2018, losing deep into injury time against Belgium in a five-goal thriller despite going two goals ahead. The route to the knockouts does potentially see Japan and Belgium go head-to-head if both sides are able to qualify from both Group E and F respectively, which could set up an enticing encounter, one that the Japanese will be seeking revenge for. However, it seems unlikely at this stage that Hajime Moriyasu’s side will escape out of a tough group.

A Spanish Return

After winning just two matches across their last two previous World Cup campaigns, Spain will be desperate for a much improved outing this time around. La Roja failed to book a place in the last 16 at the 2010 edition, whilst they rather fortunately progressed out of Group B in 2018. Although, they were quickly met with defeat against Russia in the round of 16. Head coach Luis Enrique has overseen an improvement from then, however, and his side were able to reach the semi-finals at Euro 2020.

On the other hand, Spain’s performances and results seemed rather fortunate in the competition and they only managed to win just one match after 90 minutes across the whole of Euro 2020. Luis Enrique’s side eventually suffered defeat on penalties against Italy to end their tournament one step short of the final.

They should take confidence from their recent international form, losing just once in their last ten matches. Spain also topped their group at the UEFA Nations League, finishing ahead of neighbours Portugal to make the finals in 2023. Qualification for Qatar 2022 was also pretty straight forward, topping Group B ahead of Sweden and conceding just five goals across eight matches.

Underperforming Germany

Since 2002, both Germany and Spain had been the crown jewels of international football. However, a recent blip where both sides had underwhelming campaigns at the 2018 World Cup has dampened the mood surrounding the two nations and neither of them hold the same threat as they once did.

Still, Germany and Spain remain joint-favorites in what is considered to be a top-heavy group and they are both expected to qualify here. The Germans have been under pressure more so than Spain of late and their performance in Russia, where they finished bottom of Group F, was quite the surprise to the rest of the world, considering they were crowned champions just four years earlier. Instead of this leading to the departure of head coach Joachim Löw, Die Mannschaft opted to oust veteran players such as Jerome Boateng and Mesut Özil.

An unconvincing Euro 2020 campaign has done little to convince that Germany are the same powerhouses as they once were. Löw finally stepped down from his role in 2021 and now former Bayern Munich boss Hansi Flick has taken the reins of the German national team. However, their recent form has done little to inspire either – they picked up just one win out of their six Nations League matches between June and September of this year, finishing behind Italy and Hungary who were both unable to qualify for Qatar 2022.

Key Fixture

Spain vs Germany will be the big match in Group E and the two sides will face each other on matchday two on November 27 at the Al Bayt Stadium. Spain will look back fondly to when they last met Germany in 2020 at the Nations League when a Ferran Torres hat-trick helped them on their way to a 6-0 win against Löw’s team.

The two nations last met at a major tournament in 2010 when Spain ended up 1-0 winners in their semi-final clash in South Africa, en-route to the final where they defeated the Netherlands to be crowned world champions.

Ones to Watch

At just 19-years-old, Jamal Musiala offers an exciting prospect at this year’s tournament. He has been on electric form for club side Bayern this season, scoring nine goals and assisting six in just 14 Bundesliga appearances. Musiala gained vital experience at Euro 2020 and he could be one to shine and spark a bit of brilliance to a German offense that has been uninspiring in recent years.

Junya Ito of Japan had been ripping up the Belgian league for Genk for many years prior to this World Cup.  In his last two seasons, the 29-year-old scored 19 league goals and assisted 29 in the Belgian Pro League. Ito has now made a move to French side Reims and has also made a positive start, scoring four goals and assisting once in his first 12 Ligue 1 matches. Finishing as top goalscorer for the third qualifying phase at the Asian qualifiers, Ito will be key to Japanese success at Qatar 2022.

Group E Final Prediction

Japan are tough opponents and could have a surprise in store, considering they have qualified out of the group stage in two of their last three World Cups. They have also lost just two matches out of their last 16 international fixtures.

However, we are still expecting no surprises in Group E and Spain and Germany should prevail and book a place in the knockout rounds. We think Spain are one step ahead of Germany though and are backing them to top the group here.

1. Spain

2. Germany

3. Japan

4. Costa Rica