Predicting the winners of Group E for the 2022 World Cup

MUSCAT, OMAN - NOVEMBER 15: Players of Germany run during the Germany training session at Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex on November 15, 2022 in Muscat, Oman. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
MUSCAT, OMAN - NOVEMBER 15: Players of Germany run during the Germany training session at Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex on November 15, 2022 in Muscat, Oman. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images) /
Germany World Cup
Germany looks to bounce back in this year’s World Cup after a disastrous group stage exit in 2018. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images) /

How will Group E finish in the 2022 World Cup

Part 5 of a series

With the 2022 World Cup set to begin on Nov. 20, there are teams from each of the eight groups ready to leave their mark on the tournament.

We’ve already taken a look at Group A, Group B, Group C, and Group D, so next up is Group E. In this group, Spain is joined by Costa Rica, Germany, and Japan.

This group leaves plenty of debate to be discussed once the first match between Germany and Japan kicks off on Nov. 23.

First Place: Germany

Germany has solid momentum heading into this tournament.

After a disappointing 2-0 loss to England in the Round of 16 during Euro 2021, Germany cruised past their opponents during World Cup qualifying.

They won nine of 10 in their group, as their offense was especially deadly, scoring a torching 36 goals.

Their defense is no joke either. Having a world-class goalkeeper in Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich) and a strong defender in Antonio Rudiger (Real Madrid) saw them concede only 4 goals during the qualifiers.

The offense will be the main factor for the Germans. Serge Gnabry, Ilkay Gundogan, Leroy Sane, and Thomas Muller combined for 17 goals during qualifying as they are vital scoring options for the team to depend on.

After a disastrous group stage exit in the 2018 edition, Germany looks retooled and composed to show they will redeem themselves by making a deep run in this tournament.

Spain World Cup
Spain is a potential finalist for the 2022 World Cup. (Photo by Mateo Villalba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Second Place: Spain

Spain should be considered a potential finalist, even if they don’t have the biggest names in the tournament.

In Euro 2021, they exceeded expectations by reaching the semifinals before bowing down to eventual winners Italy in a 4-2 penalty shootout.

Spain topped their group in qualifying despite facing a tough challenge from runner-ups Sweden, scoring 15 goals and allowing 5 in the process. They also played well in the 2022-23 UEFA Nations League, advancing to the finals after winning Group 2 of League A over Portugal, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic.

They have Unai Simon as their starting goalkeeper. The netminder played great on the road to the Euro 2021 semifinal. Not to mention their elite fullbacks in Jordi Alba and Dani Carvajal, who have served their roles well for Barcelona and Real Madrid, respectively.

The midfield is a wildcard, even with the abundant experience of veterans Sergio Busquets and Koke. Where the goals come from will also be interesting, as Alvaro Morata, Ferran Torres, and Pablo Sarabia have made their names on the scoresheets but their ability to do so consistently will be put to the test in this group.

While Spain may not boast as many world-class players as they have in years past, they still have the ability to go far should they execute their tactics effectively.

Japan World Cup
Japan looks to return to the knockout rounds of the World Cup after suffering a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to Belgium in 2018. (Photo by Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images) /

Third Place: Japan

Japan is a very dangerous underdog in this tournament, but getting out of this group will be a tough task for them.

The Japanese made surprises in the 2018 edition, pulling off a 2-1 upset over Colombia and advancing to the knockout rounds where they were handed a tough 3-2 defeat by Belgium in the Round of 16 after leading 2-0.

They excelled in the Asian qualifiers, comfortably finishing second in their group behind Saudi Arabia. Their defense played a major role in their success, conceding a group-best 4 goals through 10 matches.

Some of Japan’s players have invaluable World Cup experience, going all the way back to 2010. Goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima and defenders Yuto Nagatomo and Maya Yoshida have each appeared in two or more World Cups, and will seek to mentor the inexperienced younger players, a key to how Japan handles the tougher teams in the group.

Should Japan beat Costa Rica and steal points from Germany and Spain, they might create a surprise in a group that could turn out to be chaotic.

Costa Rica World Cup
Costa Rica appears to be the odd one out in Group E heading into the 2022 World Cup. (Photo by KARIM JAAFAR / AFP) (Photo by KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images) /

Fourth Place: Costa Rica

With an aging core of players on their roster, Costa Rica is far from their peak in this group.

Since their miracle run to the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup before losing to the Netherlands in penalties, they finished at the bottom of their group against Brazil, Switzerland and Serbia in the 2018 edition.

Costa Rica nearly missed out on this tournament. They finished at fourth in Concacaf qualifying, above Panama in points but behind the United States on goal differential.

As a result, they needed a 1-0 win against a scrappy New Zealand squad in the playoffs to punch their ticket.

Luckily for the Costa Ricans, they still have Keylor Navas and he is up to the task as arguably their best player at goalkeeper. Even as he turns 36 in December, Navas’ elite skill at denying shots against strong opponents, whether it be club or country, will allow the team to hang on against what the best offenses in this group have to offer.

Next. Mexico’s Round of 16 streak and other Cup trivia. dark

Their chances of sneaking out of the group are low, but things can change if they pull out a victory against Japan.