How qualified – Won UEFA Group B
Best performance – Winners 2010
Goalkeepers: Unai Simon, Robert Sanchez, David Raya.
Defenders: Dani Carvajal, Cesar Azpilicueta, Eric Garcia, Hugo Guillamon, Pau Torres, Aymeric Laporte, Jordi Alba, Alex Balde.
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Rodri, Gavi, Carlos Soler, Marcos Llorente, Pedri, Koke.
Forwards: Ferran Torres, Nico Williams, Yeremi Pino, Alvaro Morata, Marco Asensio, Pablo Sarabia, Dani Olmo, Ansu Fati.
How qualified – Won FIFA play-off
Best performance – QFs 2014
Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas, Esteban Alvarado, Patrick Sequeira.
Defenders: Francisco Calvo, Juan Pablo Vargas, Kendall Waston, Oscar Duarte, Daniel Chacon, Keysher Fuller, Carlos Martinez, Bryan Oviedo, Ronald Matarrita.
Midfielders: Yeltsin Tejeda, Celso Borges, Youstin Salas, Roan Wilson, Gerson Torres, Douglas Lopez, Jewison Bennette, Alvaro Zamora, Anthony Hernandez, Brandon Aguilera, Bryan Ruiz.
Forwards: Joel Campbell, Anthony Contreras, Johan Venegas.
How qualified – Won UEFA Group J
Best performance – Winners 1954 1974 1990 2014
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Kevin Trapp
Defenders: Matthias Ginter, Antonio Rudiger, Niklas Sule, Nico Schlotterbeck, Thilo Kehrer, David Raum, Lukas Klostermann, Armel Bella-Kotchap, Christian Gunter
Midfielders: Ilkay Gundogan, Jonas Hofmann, Leon Goretzka, Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sane, Jamal Musiala, Joshua Kimmich, Thomas Muller, Julian Brandt, Mario Gotze
Forwards: Kai Havertz, Youssoufa Moukoko, Niclas Fullkrug, Karim Adeyemi
How qualified – 2nd in CAF Group B
Best performance – Last 16 x4
Goalkeepers: Shuichi Gonda, Daniel Schmidt, Eiji Kawashima.
Defenders: Miki Yamane, Hiroki Sakai, Maya Yoshida, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Shogo Taniguchi, Ko Itakura, Hiroki Ito, Yuto Nagatomo.
Midfielders: Wataru Endo, Hidemasa Morita, Ao Tanaka, Gaku Shibasaki, Kaoru Mitoma, Daichi Kamada, Ritsu Doan, Junya Ito, Takumi Minamino, Takefusa Kubo, Yuki Soma.
Forwards: Daizen Maeda, Takuma Asano, Shuto Machino, Ayase Ueda
Wednesday 23 November
Germany vs Japan – 1pm – ITV
Spain vs Costa Rica – 4pm – ITV
Sunday 27 November
Japan vs Costa Rica – 10am – ITV
Spain vs Germany – 7pm – BBC
Thursday 1 December
Japan vs Spain – 7pm – ITV
Costa Rica vs Germany – 7pm – ITV
When the draw was completed the eyes were immediately diverted to Group E where two footballing powerhouses have been housed in the form of the 2010 champions Spain and the four-time winner of this tournament in Germany. Both teams are always heavily respected when they come to World Cup tournaments and will be expected to qualify with a bit in hand. Japan and Costa Rica are the other two in the group looking to prove they are not just making up the numbers and both have plenty of World Cup pedigree of their own so this one looks one of the standout groups in the competition.
Germany are renowned for their tournament football but the last two efforts have been pretty ordinary and I’m not completely convinced that they look any stronger here in Qatar than they did in Russia and in the Euros last year where they bombed out in the group stage in 2018 and the round of 16 a year ago. That makes me want to take Germany on and while I would rather do it with teams stronger than Japan and Costa Rica, the fact they face Spain in the second game convinces me to do it.
Four years ago Germany were stunned by Mexico in the opening game and then South Korea in the final match and while that was them coming to the end of the Joachim Low era, and they are under Hansi Flick now, they face two similar sides in Japan and Costa Rica either side of Spain. If we assume they get nothing out of Spain then there is plenty of pressure on them to get something from their opening match against a Japan side who are pretty frantic and might just be suited to conditions better than the Germans. Costa Rica won’t be easy to break down especially if the group works out that they only need a draw so the 9/2 on Germany not to qualify is worth a nibble.
OPEN AN ACCOUNT WITH 888SPORT AND BET £10 TO GET £30 IN FREE BETS PLUS A £10 CASINO BONUS! PERFECT OFFER TO USE ON THE WORLD CUP! CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW TO JOIN. USE CODE 30F. NEW ACCOUNTS ONLY. 18+ T&Cs apply (See image for significant terms). Gamble Aware.
There is one bet I like among the team bets in this group. I don’t know how many goals Costa Rica will register in the tournament but it could be that 33/1 shot Kendall Waston delivers the majority of them. Costa Rica have only named three forwards in their squad. Joel Campbell has scored four of the last six competitive goals that the CONCACAF side have notched so he is a clear danger but I suspect he is going to be shy in both support and supply.
Waston is a big defender and given that I wouldn’t expect Costa Rica to get too much joy out of Spain or Germany in terms of finding the back of the net, then it could come down to their match against Japan. Japan are a small side so they are going to struggle against set plays and with Bryan Ruiz putting a ball on a sixpence to be attacked you would imagine Waston will be among those queuing up to get his head on it. Waston has nine international goals including one at the last World Cup so he is a clear threat from set pieces and at 33/1 I’ll pay to see if he can notch one in this tournament and whether one is enough to win as it was four years ago.
Back Germany NOT to qualify for a 1/10 stake at 5.50 with Boylesports
Back them here:
Back K.Waston Top Costa Rica Tournament Goalscorer for a 1/10 stake at 34.00 with Betfair