When the World Cup draw got here out in April, one of many highlights of the group stage was Sunday’s Spain vs Germany at Al Bayt Stadium.
Eight months later, the sport between the 2 former world champions and pre-tournament favorites gained much more prominence due to Germany’s stunning loss to Japan in its opener in Qatar. One other setback in opposition to Spain this weekend and Germany could also be heading house early for the second straight World Cup.
A loss — coupled with at the very least a draw by Japan in opposition to Costa Rica earlier Sunday — will imply elimination for the four-time champions. Spain, in the meantime, will probably be trying 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.
The indicators will not be 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 received 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 México. It will be the primary time it fails to advance previous the group stage in back-to-back tournaments.
Spain received 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 permit Spain to achieve the final 16 if Costa Rica doesn’t defeat Japan. Expectations round Spain’s younger squad have been raised after its excellent efficiency in opposition to Costa Rica, when the workforce reintroduced “tiki-taka” ball-possession model 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 event complete from Russia in 2018.“The end result offers us a giant increase,” Spain coach Luis Enrique stated.
“However now we’ve to play in opposition to a Germany workforce that wants the victory.” Luis Enrique stated he wasn’t involved together with his younger gamers being overly assured, and promised to make adjustments to the beginning lineup for Sunday’s match, with out elaborating.
Winger Leroy Sané may return for Germany after lacking the match in opposition to Japan due to a knee damage. Will probably be the fifth assembly between the powerhouses at World Cups, with Spain successful the newest one 1-0 within the semifinals of the 2010 event.
Spain hasn’t misplaced to Germany in official competitions for the reason that 1988 European Championship, with two attracts and three wins since then. The Germans have misplaced three of their final 4 World Cup matches relationship to the event 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 was not clear if they might repeat the gesture earlier than the Spain match.