Welcome to the ‘That’s Guide to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.’
Throughout the week That’s will be publishing a series of articles highlighting everything you need to know about the tournament. Here's your guide to Group E.
Sitting 31st in the official FIFA world rankings, the Central American nation is by no means a footballing powerhouse. However, it wasn’t so long ago that Costa Rica outperformed themselves on the world stage.
The team took many by surprise when they finished first in Group D in 2014 above Uruguay, Italy and England. They made it to the quarter-final of the tournament before they were knocked out by the Netherlands in a penalty shootout.
Rivals in Group E – Germany, Japan and Spain – are all ranked above Costa Rica. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t spoil a few parties.
This European footballing powerhouse has four World Cup trophies to its name (1954, 1974 and 1990 as West Germany, and again in 2014 as Germany).
Perhaps, one of the more memorable World Cup wins was that of the 2014 semi-final against Brazil. Their crushing 7-1 victory shattered the dreams of a hopeful Brazilian home crowd.
Germany went on to defeat Argentina in the final.
With a team made up of stars from the Premier League and Bundesliga, as well as other top league clubs, could 2022 be Germany’s year once again?
2022 marks Japan’s seventh World Cup appearance, including in 2002 when the East Asian nation co-hosted the tournament with South Korea.
Their modest World Cup record includes five wins, one of which was a 2-1 victory against Colombia in 2018 – the first time that an Asian nation beat a team from South America. In the same tournament, Japan went out to Belgium in the Round of 16.
Japan was up 2-0 after two goals early in the second half but still went on to lose the game 3-2, with the European side scoring the winner in the 94th minute of normal time. Ouch.
The Spanish team will hope to replicate their performance in the 2010 World Cup when they were crowned champions.
Before that tournament, the side had an unbeaten streak of 35 matches which lasted between 2007-2009, and even saw them win Euro 2008.
Group E certainly won’t be a walk in the park, but with a team that includes the likes of Eric Garcia, Jordi Alba, Rodri and others, Spain might fancy their chances.
Fun fact – along with Iberian neighbor Portugal, as well as Ukraine, Spain is bidding to co-host the 2030 World Cup.
[Cover image via That’s]