Group E at the World Cup boasts two of Europe’s most successful footballing nations which should make for compelling viewing
The World Cup is just around the corner, and nations worldwide are preparing for their opponents during the opening group stage. Four matches will be played every day from Nov. 21 until Dec. 2 to narrow down the field of 32 teams to 16.
Eight groups of four teams will play a round-robin tournament to determine which two countries will advance to the Round of 16. Each nation will play the other three teams in their group once.
Group E is one of the most challenging collections of teams, featuring two of the previous three World Cup winners in Spain and Germany.
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Both nations are among the top favorites to walk away as the tournament champion once again, but must first contend with Japan and Costa Rica.
This year’s tournament has the caveat of being played in the fall due to the unbearable heat during the summer in the host country of Qatar, so certain variables such as player workload could make the World Cup even more unpredictable than usual.
Let’s look at current betting lines for Group E in the World Cup to identify the best bets and predict a winner.
World Cup Group E Winner Odds
Costa Rica (+4000)
All betting odds are current as of July 26, 2022 from BetMGM Sportsbook.
Group E is widely considered a two-horse race between Spain (-110) and Germany (+110), and rightfully so. The two powerhouse nations carry a solid résumé in international competition and are both recent winners of the World Cup.
The group favorites will be joined by the 2019 Asian Cup finalists Japan (+1100) and international playoff winner Costa Rica (+4000), who earned a spot by defeating New Zealand on June 14.
World Cup Group E Preview
Spain enters the World Cup as the favorite to win Group E after years as a dominant force in international football.
From 2008 to 2012, the Spanish team won two European Championships and a World Cup before going through a slight downturn until recent years. In 2020, Spain suffered a loss in the UEFA Euro Championship semi-finals to Italy on penalties and recently lost to France in the UEFA Nations League final.
Manager Luis Enrique will attempt to lead Spain back to prominence on the backs of established players such as Jordi Alba, Rodri, Alvaro Morata, Ferran Torres, and Aymeric Laporte.
This core, along with emerging prospects Ansu Fati and Pedri, will be very dangerous for any team that shares a pitch with them. It would be a major surprise if they failed to qualify out of Group E.
The German side has been ready for the World Cup competition since last October, when they were the first team to qualify (aside from Qatar) after defeating North Macedonia.
Hansi Flick is taking over from long-time German manager Joachim Low, who was relieved of his duties after an embarrassing first-round loss to Russia in the 2018 World Cup and early-round loss to England during Euro 2020.
Flick will have plenty of weapons at his disposal with a stacked roster headlined by Bayern Munich stars Joshua Kimmich, Serge Gnabry, Manuel Neuer, Thomas Müller, and Leroy Sané. Add in Chelsea’s Kai Havertz, Real Madrid’s Antonio Rudiger, and Paris Saint-Germain’s Julian Draxler, and you have a team that could rival any nation in the World Cup.
The underrated Japanese side will be making their seventh straight World Cup appearance. However, Japan has never advanced past the Round of 16 while being eliminated in the group stage three times.
It would be a mistake for Spain or Germany to underestimate this Japanese squad due to their talented group of attackers led by Takumi Minamino (Liverpool), Genki Haraguchi (Union Berlin), and Ao Tanaka (Fortuna Düsseldorf).
The defense is anchored by Arsenal center back Takehiro Tomiyasu and team captain Maya Yoshida, who plays for Bundesliga’s Schalke 04.
Japan will look to avenge their disappointing early exit at the 2018 World Cup when Belgium came back from two goals down to secure a spot in the quarterfinals.
Do not sleep on the Samurai Blue.
Costa Rica (+4000)
Costa Rica earned their place in Group E by defeating New Zealand in the intercontinental playoff in June thanks to a lone goal by former Arsenal forward Joel Campbell.
Los Ticos will enter the World Cup for the fifth time in their nation’s history, looking to best their performance in 2014 when they reached the quarterfinals in Brazil.
The Costa Rican side has an uphill battle to compete with Spain, Germany, and Japan. However, they have an experienced roster with names like Keylor Navas (Paris Saint-Germain), Bryan Ruiz (Alajuelense), Celso Borges (Alajuelense), Kendall Waston (Saprissa), Oscar Duarte (Al-Wehda), and Bryan Oviedo.
It would be a significant upset if Costa Rica were to qualify, but do not be surprised if they make things difficult for the other sides.
World Cup Group E Winner Best Bet
WAGER: 1 Unit
The showdown between Spain and Germany in the second match will likely determine who wins Group E. This will mean not only securing a more favorable path during the knockout stage, but also likely avoiding Belgium in the second round.
Despite having a lower FIFA ranking, Germany is a more well-rounded team. Spain also lacks a reliable goal-scorer, which could be the difference in deciding who wins the group.
Flick is unbeaten since taking over from Low as manager, so Germany could make a serious run for the World Cup championship this year.
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World Cup Group E Props
Japan Qualifies for Round of 16 (+300)
WAGER: 1 Unit
Japan has reached the knock stage in two of the last three World Cups and has the skill to play spoiler this year in Qatar. If Spain or Germany overlooks the Samurai Blue during the group stage, Japan may steal the points on the table.
In what would be considered a massive upset, only (+300) odds for Japan to qualify is disappointing. But if you’re looking to profit from Group E, this may be the best route to take with low odds on the favorites.
Bet on Japan to qualify at BetMGM.