Spain to boot Germany out at WC group stage

Spain's crushing 7-0 win over Costa Rica in their opening Group E game at the 2022 Qatar World Cup has made the rest of the competition sit up and take notice, even if their opponents offered absolutely nothing in response. It is precisely into this environment that Germany find themselves in, and in the unexpected position of almost certainly needing a win or it could be curtains for them at the first stage for a second successive men's tournament. Hansi Flick's team dominated the first half of their game with Japan, only to deservedly lose 2-1 when Samurai Blue made the most of their second half turnaround. It's do or die for them already on Sunday evening at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al-Khor. Read our preview here:

Can Olmo taste it

Though difficult to read too much into the first game played by La Furia Roja as a collective, there were some outstanding individual displays, with six players amongst the goals in an XI lacking an out-and-out striker when Álvaro Morata starts on the bench. That lack of focal point did and generally does not do anything to hinder their approach play in the final third, as evidenced by their recent record under Luis Enrique, whose contract expires at the conclusion of the tournament. Dani Olmo only came back to match fitness in the last weeks before being selected for the competition, and looked really sharp against Los Ticos, timing his runs and crisp passes to perfection. Naturally, the defence will come under much more scrutiny on Sunday evening, but Sergio Busquets is still operating at a very high standard at the base of midfield with the youthful, immensely promising pair of Gavi and Pedri for company.

Süle some mistake?

Flick's main area of concern, other than the obvious upset by Japan, will be centred on the full-back areas and up top. Kai Havertz is far from a traditional number nine and, though he can be potent in front of goal, he often lacks the killer instinct to finish off chances many observers would expect him to put away. Ilkay Gündogan bombed forwards in the second half, leaving Joshua Kimmich isolated and his side vulnerable to quick counters. David Raum pushed upfield on the left to good effect, but he tends to leave gaps in behind. On the opposite wing, Niklas Süle is far more suited to being in the heart of defence, and it is definitely an area Spain will target with Jordi Alba chief amongst them.

Betting tip

Germany simply have to go for it... and if there is one side in men's international football where that strategy really shouldn't be employed against, it's Spain. A draw or win for Japan against Costa Rica in the earlier game will condemn Flick's charges to another humiliating early elimination from the World Cup if they themselves lose - and bet365 still have odds greater than evens (2.30) for Spain to mete out another defeat.

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