World Cup Group E: Big guns meet but hope for rivals
World Cup Group E odds, teams and fixtures
In our guide to World Cup Group E, we assess the prospects of Spain, Germany, Japan and Costa Rica as they bid to reach the last 16 at Qatar 2022.
We also highlight the betting odds for each team and list the fixtures, including kick-off times and television coverage for all six matches.
Spain may not be the dominant force in world football that they once were but big things are still expected of them in what is not quite a ‘group of death’ but one which features two European heavyweights.
La Roja made hard work of qualifying, needing a late Alvaro Morata winner in their final game against Sweden to avoid the play-offs.
Their results can be hard to predict, having disappointed at the last two World Cups, but they reached the semi-finals at the European Championship last summer and topped their Nations League group this year.
Possession will not be an issue but making the most of it might be. They will hope to ease their way into the tournament by beating Costa Rica before the crunch clash with fellow former champions Germany.
Hansi Flick has overseen an improvement in Germany’s performances since taking over from Joachim Low but whether they can add to their four World Cup titles remains to be seen.
They can surely only improve on their showing four years ago when they finished bottom of their group after defeats against Mexico and South Korea.
Germany were knocked out of the Euros by England in the round of 16 last summer and only finished third in their Nations League group so much more improvement is needed but they have a talented squad with plenty of experience at the top level of European club football.
— UEFA EURO 2024 (@EURO2024) July 19, 2021
Spain and Germany will be widely tipped to fill the top two places in Group E but Japan look the best hope of preventing European dominance.
They reached the last 16 in Russia four years ago and threatened a huge upset when taking a two-goal lead against Belgium, only to eventually concede a winner deep into injury time.
A shaky start to their qualifying campaign was soon overcome and they kept plenty of clean sheets in the build-up to the World Cup, while a 1-0 defeat against Brazil showed they are no pushovers.
Los Ticos are the favourites to finish bottom of the group but that was the case eight years ago so they know all about upsetting the World Cup odds.
In 2014 they were drawn in the same group as Uruguay, Italy and England, defying all expectations not only to qualify but to win the group, with their run only ended by a penalty shoot-out defeat against the Netherlands in the quarter-finals.
An 11-match unbeaten run in qualifying saw them reach a play-off which they won at New Zealand’s expense, and the big guns in the group will underestimate Costa Rica at their peril.
World Cup Group E fixtures
Nov 23: Germany v Japan, 1pm, Khalifa International Stadium, ITV
Nov 23: Spain v Costa Rica, 4pm, Al Thumama Stadium, ITV
Nov 27: Japan v Costa Rica, 10am, Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, ITV
Nov 27: Spain v Germany, 7pm, Al Bayt Stadium, BBC
Dec 1: Japan v Spain, 7pm, Khalifa International Stadium, ITV
Dec 1: Costa Rica v Germany, 7pm, Al Bayt Stadium, ITV
World Cup Group E winner odds
50/1 Costa Rica
Odds to qualify
12/1 Costa Rica
View the latest World Cup odds
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication