The second round of group games at World Cup 2022 continues on Sunday, as Spain take on Germany in a crunch clash in Group E.
Belgium, Croatia, and Japan are also in action on the final day of the weekend, so there is plenty to look forward to in Qatar.
Here is how we see the four matches playing out.
The odds for November 27 have been supplied by the Caesars sportsbook, where up to $1250 in free bets are available for World Cup 2022 and beyond.
Japan pulled off the second biggest shock of the tournament up to that point when they beat Germany 2-1 on Wednesday. The four-time world champions created plenty of chances after going 1-0 up, but their failure to score a second goal ultimately proved costly.
Hajime Moriyasu, the Japan manager, was the star of the comeback. He switched to a back three at half-time and then made attacking substitutions throughout the second half to get his team back into the game. After their most memorable World Cup win of all time, Japan are potentially just one win away from securing a place in the knockout phase.
Costa Rica’s confidence will be low after their 7-0 thrashing by Spain last time out. It is hard to see anything other than a comfortable Japan win in the early kick-off on Sunday.
Belgium got their campaign off to a winning start on Wednesday, as Michy Batshuayi notched the only goal of the game shortly before half-time. But apart from the result, there were few positives for Roberto Martinez to take from a match that saw his team outplayed for long stretches.
Compared to a sprightly Canadian team, Belgium looked slow and sluggish. They struggled to play through their opponents’ press and relied on Thibaut Courtois to save them several times, not least by keeping out an Alphonso Davies penalty early on.
Still, Belgium’s star quality ultimately allowed them to triumph and we reckon a similar outcome is a distinct possibility against Morocco, who lacked a cutting edge in a 0-0 draw with Croatia.
Croatia were left frustrated in that goalless draw with Morocco, who made life difficult for the runners-up from four years ago. Zlatko Dalic’s side had plenty of possession but struggled to progress the ball up the pitch, which resulted in few chances of note for the European nation.
Canada are bottom of Group F after the first round of fixtures but they arguably turned in the best performance of any team in this section. A 1-0 defeat by Belgium was not a fair reflection of a game in which the Maple Leafs were bright and bold against opponents who looked sluggish in comparison.
Canada deserved at least a draw against Belgium and we are backing them to avoid defeat when they take on Croatia at the Khalifa International Stadium.
Spain made a major statement of intent on matchday one, thrashing Costa Rica 7-0 in what was their biggest World Cup victory of all time. Another win this weekend would send them through to the knockout phase with a game to spare.
Standing in their way are Germany, who simply cannot afford to lose after suffering a 2-1 defeat by Japan on Wednesday. Wastefulness in front of the goal and a few moments of defensive sloppiness cost the Nationalelf in that game, and they are now under huge pressure.
Back Spain to come out on top in this crunch clash. They will be able to play with relative freedom and Germany may second guess themselves after what happened against Japan. Hansi Flick’s side could be in trouble.
Dates: November 20 - December 18
How to Watch: Fox Sports, Telemundo, fuboTV
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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