Sunday’s 2022 World Cup action closes out at Al Bayt Stadium as Spain and Germany lock horns in a blockbuster match-up at 7.00 pm.
Luis Enrique’s team went into the tournament in high spirits after beating fellow Iberian Peninsula rivals Portugal to a top-place finish in their 2022/23 UEFA Nations League group.
If they were confident ahead of the competition, a resounding 7-0 triumph over North American minnows Costa Rica on day one must have taken their enthusiasm into orbit.
Barcelona forward Ferran Torres notched up a double, but Spain had five other goalscorers on Wednesday, including another Spotify Camp Nou star Gavi.
At 18 years and 110 days old, the highly-rated whizz-kid became the third-youngest player to score at the World Cup and the first teenager since legendary Pele to get on the scoresheet at such a young age.
On the other hand, Germany experienced contrasting fortunes in their Group E curtain-raiser against Japan, losing 2-1 despite taking a half-time lead through Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan.
Everyone had thought Die Mannschaft would stroll past the Samurai Blue after the ex-Borussia Dortmund man slotted home a first-half penalty, yet the Japanese’s late comeback left the Germans red-faced.
With their tournament life on the line at the start of round two, Hansi Flick’s men would wave goodbye to their knockout hopes should Japan beat Costa Rica and they slump to Spain.
Inspired by their biggest-ever victory at the World Cup finals, Spain are looking to commence a tournament campaign with back-to-back wins for only the fourth time, last doing so in 2006.
Enrique’s tactical masterstroke against Costa Rica led the Spaniards to an eye-catching seven-goal tally, only one shy of their overall tournament return from 2010 when they won the prize.
Having won their last three successive internationals, La Furia Roja could make it four on the trot for the first time in 2022, which would all but secure their knockout berth for the second tournament running.
By contrast, the Germans will be battling for their survival in Qatar after ominously losing their opening group fixture for the second World Cup on the spin.
Germany suffered a shock group stage elimination in Russia four years ago on the back of an underwhelming matchday-one defeat to Mexico.
Unless Flick’s men regroup swiftly, it could lead to Die Mannschaft’s consecutive World Cup first-round exits for the first time in history, increasing the pressure on the former Bayern Munich manager’s shoulders.
Spain vs Germany Head-to-Head
With both teams being permanent fixtures at the World Cup finals for almost a century, it’s somewhat no big deal that this will be their fifth meeting at the tournament.
Having gone winless in their first three matches against Die Mannschaft in the world’s most significant competition (D1, L2), La Furia Roja claimed a narrow 1-0 win in their most recent H2H in the 2010 semi-finals.
The teams have since faced each other four times across various competitions, with the H2H stakes reading perfectly balanced (W1, D2, L1 for each side).
Spain vs Germany Potential Line-ups
Spain (4-3-3): Unai Simon; Dani Carvajal, Aymeric Laporte, Pau Torres, Jordi Alba; Pedri, Sergio Busquets, Gavi; Ferran Torres, Marco Asensio, Dani Olmo.
Germany (4-2-3-1): Manuel Neuer; Thilo Kehrer, Antonio Rudiger, Nico Schlotterbeck, David Raum; Ilkay Gundogan, Joshua Kimmich; Serge Gnabry, Thomas Muller, Jamal Musiala; Kai Havertz.
Spain vs Germany Prediction
It’s still uncertain whether Spain’s demolition of Costa Rica was just a one-off, but Germany’s poor showing against Japan makes the Iberians warm favourites to take the bragging rights.
Adding to this sentiment, Spain utterly outclassed the Germans in their 2020/21 UEFA Nations League encounter, cruising to an emphatic 6-0 victory on home turf.
It’s hard to see another identical outcome here, but we’ve made up our minds – the Spaniards should win this every day of the week.
Spain 2-1 Germany
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