Though there wasn’t an outright ‘Group of Death’ in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the Group E was seen by many as a group that could see twists and turns. That is exactly how things have turned out so far. Japan defeated Germany 2-1 before suffering a loss at the hands of Costa Rica, the side that was beaten 7-0 by Spain. Then, Spain could only draw 1-1 against Germany.
Into the last round of fixtures in the Group E, anything is possible. Though Spain and Germany are favourites, considering the final set of fixtures, another upset wouldn’t be far-fetched.
A look at the Round of 16 qualification scenario from Group E:
Spain:Table-toppers Spain have 4 points from 2 matches at present but they aren’t guaranteed a Round of 16 spot either. In their last match, La Roja face Japan, a side that has already beaten Germany. A victory and a draw against Japan would enable Spain to qualify for the next round but a loss could prove to be fatal. If Japan beat Spain and Costa Rica beat Germany, Spain would get knocked out.
Because of the big goal difference, Germany’s win over Costa Rica isn’t a realistic threat for Spain.
Japan:After beating Germany 2-1, Japan suffered a catastrophic defeat at the hands of South Americans Costa Rica. A win over Spain would directly see them qualify for the Round of 16. A draw could also be enough if Costa Rica vs Germany match also finishes in a draw. A defeat would knock Japan out of the last 16 race.
Costa Rica:The 7-0 defeat against Spain severely dented Costa Rica’s chances of qualification but they did well by beating Japan in the second match. Now, Costa Rica need to beat Germany in order to qualify. A draw would also be enough if Spain go on to beat Japan in their last match.
Germany:Placed bottom of the group with just 1 point to their name in 2 matches, Germany are in a tricky position. Nothing less than a win against Costa Rica keeps them in the last 16 hunt. But, that might not be enough. Germany would benefit from Spain’s win over Japan. If Spain and Japan only produce a draw, Germany would need to beat Costa Rica by at least a 2-goal margin to qualify.