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Spain vs Germany: World Cup 2022 – LIVE!

For Germany, it all comes down to this. Global champions only eight years ago, their shock loss to Japan has left Hansi Flick’s side staring down the barrel of yet another World Cup group stage elimination, with key players not exactly ringing in their endorsements of each other.

Spain, meanwhile, look like one of the early contenders. Impressive at Euro 2020, Luis Enrique’s team set out their stall against Costa Rica, scoring seven times even despite a supposed lack of firepower. A truly heavyweight meeting between two of Europe’s biggest teams, this could well have been a final or a semi-final (as it was in 2010) only a few years ago now.

The maths are simple for Germany. Lose and they will follow Qatar out of the tournament. Win, however, and Group E opens up nicely following Japan’s loss. Follow all of the action with Standard Sport’s dedicated match blog. Dan Kilpatrick and Malik Ouzia will be providing expert analysis from the ground!

Live updates

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Japan 0-1 Costa Rica: Roles reversed in humbling with late Fuller goal

Costa Rica bounced back from a seven-goal defeat to Spain by beating Japan to secure a famous World Cup win.

Japan were out to build on a huge comeback victory over Germany to kickstart their tournament but left matchwinner Takuma Asano on the bench as Hijame Moriyasu made five changes.

Costa Rica made two changes and switched to a five-man defence after the hammering at the hands of Spain.

Ritsu Doan, who netted the equaliser against Germany, was one of those introduced by Japan and his fine cross into the six-yard box teased an early opener, but with the goal gaping it went unmet.

While the Blue Samurai lacked a cutting edge, it was ambition largely found wanting for La Sele as they remained content to knock the ball around at the back.

A rare move forward after the half-hour mark drew a half-clearance to Joel Campbell, who lofted a hopeful poke at goal over the bar.

The end of one of the dullest halves in Qatar so far prompted Moriyasu to make two half-time changes, switching to a 3-4-3 formation with the introduction of Asano.

A momentary surge faded as Japan looked less like the swashbuckling comeback kings that downed Germany and more the raw, wayward young team that many expected to show up at this World Cup.

As the clock ticked, they became guilty of the lack of end product that did for the Germans and Costa Rica snatched all three points in the final ten minutes.

Keysher Fuller stepped up to produce the winner after scrappy play from Japan surrendered possession by their own box and a snapshot from the edge of the area managed to catch Shuichi Gonda napping and nestle in the top corner.

Costa Rica saw out the win with men behind the ball, their first shot on target in 170 minutes at this tournament earning their first World Cup victory in a 90-minute match since beating Italy in the 2014 group stage.

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Just enough to get through?

Germany could become the first team to qualify with three points since Chile at the 1998 World Cup did it with draws against Italy, Austria, and Cameroon.

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Luis Enrique sends Germany message

The Spain boss is not going to be taking Germany lightly.

“Without a doubt, they are the team that is most similar to Spain in terms of dominating the play and controlling it,” he said.

“That is a beautiful challenge for us. I think it will be an open game.”

AFP via Getty Images
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A battle of the new generation

As exciting as Gavi is, it’s not as if Germany aren’t without their own wonderkid…

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Wonder boy

Certainly not bad company to be in…

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Hansi Flick looks forward to Germany’s ‘first final’

Having lost to Japan, Germany boss Hansi Flick is all too aware every game his side play in Qatar from here is a final.

“The past two tournaments were not [good],” Flick said.

“We want to avoid a repeat of this. The focus is on concentration. This is the first final for us at the World Cup and that’s what it’s about – to avoid a repeat of that.”

AFP via Getty Images
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Busquets to summon spirit of 2010 to lead Roja in World Cup bid

Spain captain Sergio Busquets will use his experience to help the country’s young players thrive under the pressure of a World Cup.

Head coach Luis Enrique has named a young squad for the tournament, with 20 players appearing at their first-ever World Cup.

Busquets is the only survivor from Spain’s 2010 World Cup win, and the 34-year-old is ready to act as a leader.

“The World Cup is unique,” he said.

“It’s the biggest sporting event and sometimes the nerves get the better of you when you don’t have much experience.

“I tell them we have to be faithful to our style of play and everything that we’ve been working on with our coach. We know it is going to be difficult, but our aim is to play seven games, fight until the end and why not win? We need to go step by step.”

AP
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Germany problem striking as Spain offer World Cup blueprint

So, can you win a World Cup without a striker? On the limited evidence of a tiny group-stage sample so far, the answer is, unsurprisingly, unclear.

Heading to Qatar, two of Europe’s footballing powerhouses had the lack of a prolific centre-forward as clear weaknesses in squads that were otherwise among the tournament’s most talented.

For Germany, it has already proved costly, as Hansi Flick’s side failed to put Japan away and were stunned by a late comeback, despite having 26 shots in the game. Then Spain, a couple of hours later, played Costa Rica and scored seven.

On Sunday night, the 2010 and 2014 winners meet in what looked the highlight of the group stage as soon as the draw was made and even more so now that it is not simply a potential shootout for top spot, but a potential knockout for the Germans.

Read the full story here!

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Prediction: 1-1 draw

They say form goes out of the window in big tournament matches like this, and Germany better hope so after a humbling start to their World Cup, in total juxtaposition to Spain’s rapid explosion from the blocks.

Don’t expect a complete walkover here, though. Germany will be champing at the bit for a response to their Japan defeat and Spain know a draw should keep them in pole position for the last 16.

1-1 draw.

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