Spain scored seven targets previous Costa Rica whereas dominating possession and stringing collectively passes with ease. AP
Preview: When the World Cup draw got here out in April, one of many highlights of the group stage was Sunday’s match between Spain and Germany at Al Bayt Stadium.
Almost eight months later, the sport between the 2 former world champions and pre-tournament favorites gained much more prominence due to Germany’s shocking loss to Japan in its opener in Qatar.
One other setback in opposition to Spain this weekend and Germany could also be heading dwelling early for the second straight World Cup. A loss — coupled with not less than a draw by Japan in opposition to Costa Rica within the earlier match Sunday — will imply elimination for the four-time champions.
“We’re optimistic,” Germany coach Hansi Flick stated Saturday. “We’ve got to be courageous and imagine in our high quality. We wish to follow our recreation as a result of we have now the standard.”
Spain, in the meantime, might be seeking to safe its spot within the subsequent stage and reinforce its standing as one of many high title contenders following a formidable 7-0 rout of Costa Rica in its opener.
“It’s a giant take a look at for us,” Spain coach Luis Enrique stated. “In such an essential occasion like this, in opposition to one of many favorites to win the World Cup, in an advanced scenario for them, we wish to present that we’ll not play in another way, and that we’ll attempt to dominate from the beginning. And if it really works, implausible. If not, we are going to congratulate our rival.”
The indicators aren’t encouraging for Germany. Its most up-to-date match in opposition to Spain was an embarrassing 6-0 defeat within the Nations League two years in the past. Its final win in opposition to “La Roja” got here in a pleasant eight years in the past.
Germany gained its fourth World Cup title in 2014 in Brazil, however didn’t make it out of the group stage in 2018 after losses to South Korea and Mexico. It will be the primary time it fails to advance previous the group stage in back-to-back tournaments.
Spain gained its lone World Cup in 2010 in South Africa and was eradicated within the spherical of 16 in 2018 in Russia. A win in opposition to Germany will enable Spain to achieve the final 16 if Costa Rica doesn’t defeat Japan.
Expectations round Spain’s younger squad had been raised after its excellent efficiency in opposition to Costa Rica, when the group reintroduced “tiki-taka” ball-possession type and 18-year-old Gavi turned the youngest World Cup scorer since Pelé in 1958.
The seven targets it scored in opposition to Costa Rica matched Spain’s match complete from Russia in 2018.
Luis Enrique stated the target in opposition to Germany — which he stated is the group that the majority resembles Spain — might be to manage ball possession once more.
“We have to have the ball greater than they do,” he stated. “If we will try this, definitely we might be in higher place. If not, we’re going to discover ourselves in conditions wherein we are going to endure.”
Luis Enrique stated he deliberate to make adjustments to the beginning lineup for Sunday’s match, and that he wasn’t involved together with his younger gamers being overly assured.
“In opposition to a group like Germany, we will’t be overconfident. In any other case, they may trounce you,” Luis Enrique stated. “It’s a rival that requires all of our consideration and energy. It’s an ideal problem for us.”
Winger Leroy Sané may return for Germany after lacking the match in opposition to Japan due to a knee harm. He was again in coaching on Friday, when Flick was capable of work together with his full 26-player squad.
Flick went to the press convention by himself, with out taking a participant together with him as required by FIFA, saying he wished the whole squad targeted on their preparations on the group’s coaching camp, which is situated outdoors Doha.
It is going to be the fifth assembly between the powerhouses at World Cups, with Spain profitable the newest one 1-0 within the semifinals of the 2010 match.
Spain hasn’t misplaced to Germany in official competitions because the 1988 European Championship, with two attracts and three wins since then.
The Germans have misplaced three of their final 4 World Cup matches courting to the match in Russia.
They made headlines even earlier than kickoff in opposition to Japan by overlaying their mouths to protest FIFA’s clampdown on the “One Love” armbands. It wasn’t clear if they might repeat the gesture earlier than the Spain match.
With inputs from AP
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