On Sunday, high-flying Spain will face an out-of-sorts German team at the Al Bayt Stadium. The two European powerhouses had very different 2022 World Cup openings.
Spain defeated Costa Rica 7-0 on Wednesday at the Al Thumama Stadium to win their World Cup opener in commanding fashion for the first time since 2006.
Within the opening 31 minutes, goals from Dani Olmo, Marco Asensio, and Ferran Torres helped La Roja jump out to a three-goal lead. The former was Spain’s 100th World Cup goal.
Following the interval, Torres added his second goal before Gavi, Carlos Soler, and Alvaro Morata also scored to give Luis Enrique’s team the ideal start to their Group E campaign.
Since winning the world championship in 2010, Spain has struggled on the most significant international stage, losing in the group stage in 2014 and then on penalties to the 2018 hosts Russia in the last 16.
La Roja might again be considered a serious contender to win the championship in Qatar this year if they defeat Germany in a decisive match.
Spain Form (All Competitions): W W L W W W
Spain had 81.3% possession in their 7-0 win against Costa Rica, the highest in a World Cup match since 1966.
They also out passed Costa Rica 976-165. DOMINANCE! 😳 pic.twitter.com/3ScKf72oMt
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 23, 2022
Following their shocking 2-1 loss to Japan on Wednesday, Germany is in danger of suffering another humiliating group-stage exit at the World Cup, four years after they did so in Russia.
Despite early indications of Japan’s offensive threat in the first half, Germany found themselves in front thanks to an Ilkay Gundogan penalty.
However, two Bundesliga forwards abruptly changed the course of the match in favor of Samurai Blue. Ritsu Doan of Freiburg restored parity in the 75th minute, and Takuma Asano of VfL Bochum clinched the victory seven minutes from time.
FIFA’s tenth-ranked Germany has won only two of their past nine international matches. Head coach Hansi Flick has acknowledged that his team is “under pressure” going into Sunday’s crucial match against Spain.
If Japan wins its match against Costa Rica earlier on Sunday, Germany must defeat Spain to keep from losing the World Cup’s group stage twice in a row.
Germany Form (All Competition): D W L D W L
Following their rout of Costa Rica, Spain manager Enrique may opt to start the same lineup on Sunday. Attacking trio Torres, Asensio, and Olmo are all expected to keep their spots in a versatile front three.
Alongside teammates Barcelona midfielders Pedri and Sergio Busquets, 18-year-old prodigy Gavi, who created World Cup history with his goal on Wednesday, is anticipated to start once more.
Unexpectedly, Aymeric Laporte’s Manchester City teammate Rodri joined him as center-back. Rodri may continue to start at the center of the defense in front of Pau Torres and Eric Garcia.
Spain’s possible starting lineup:
Simon; Azpilicueta, Rodri, Laporte, Alba; Pedri, Busquets, Gavi; F. Torres, Asensio, Olmo
For Germany, Leroy Sane is still questionable for Sunday’s match despite returning to training recently. The Bayern Munich winger missed the team’s loss to Japan due to a knee injury.
With a back four of Niklas Sule, Antonio Rudiger, Nico Schlotterbeck, and David Raum expected to stay in place, shielding captain Manuel Neuer between the posts, Flick is unlikely to make many changes to his starting lineup, if any.
Germany’s possible starting lineup:
Neuer; Sule, Rudiger, Schlotterbeck, Raum; Kimmich, Gundogan; Gnabry, Muller, Musiala; Havertz
Final preparations ⏳#GER #FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/pO01CI2Ehp
— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) November 26, 2022
Head to Head
Germany has a slight advantage over Spain in the 25 games played between the two teams and has won nine of those games to Spain’s eight.
Spain has faced Germany four times during the World Cup. Spain won 1-0 and went on to win the competition when they last faced off in the semifinals in 2010.
In all competitions, Germany has only prevailed in one of their previous seven meetings with Spain, and that one triumph came in 2014 by a score of 1-0.
Date, time & Venue
Date: Sunday, 27th November
Time: 19:00 GMT
Venue: Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Germany dominated Japan in the first half but ultimately lost in a shocking upset. Die Mannschaft cannot afford another poor performance in this game because they risk becoming one of the first household names to be eliminated from the competition.
Spain played perfectly against a relatively weak Costa Rica team, but they will likely run into Germany. Due to how evenly matched both teams are, a draw this weekend is possible.