Germany will begin their 2022 FIFA World Cup finals journey this Wednesday when they face Japan at the Khalifa International Stadium.
Venue: Khalifa International Stadium (Doha)
Germany are playing their 17th consecutive FIFA World Cup finals this year.
They amassed more points (27) from their ten qualifier games than any other European nation.
Die Mannschaft even scored 36 goals during their qualifiers and conceded just four.
Japan are playing in their seventh successive World Cup campaign.
The Samurai Blues conceded just six goals in 18 qualifier games.
Hajime Moriyasu’s men have not won any of their seven games as pre-match outsiders (D2, L5) since the end of the 2019 Asian Cup.
Head to head
This will be the first competitive meeting between both teams.
Latest performances in all competitions
Germany under Hansi Flick is a team most people have taken note of after their impressive run in the qualifiers.
The European heavyweights who won the 2014 edition of the World Cup in Brazil won nine of their ten qualifier games (L1), scoring 36 goals during that time and conceding just four.
They are making their 17th consecutive appearance in the World Cup finals and will be confident of a better performance this year after the heartbreaks of the last four years under Jardim Low. Under the former German coach, Die Mannschaft failed to make the quarter-finals of two consecutive major tournaments (the 2018 World Cup and Euro 2020) for the first time during the post-war era.
But they have enjoyed remarkable improvement under Flick and will be desperate to show that they have returned to the pinnacle of world football in this tournament.
Currently ranked 11th in FIFA rankings, Germany is the second highest ranked side in Group E behind Spain. So they will fancy their chances of qualifying from this group.
Before the 2018 World Cup, Germany had reached at least the semi-finals in seven of their last nine World Cup appearances, so arriving under the radar could suit Flick’s men ahead of their opening contest.
Possible Germany starting line-up
Manuel Neuer, Thilo Kehrer, Niklas Süle, Antonio Rüdiger, David Raum, Leon Goretzka, Joshua Kimmich, Serge Gnabry, Jamal Musiala, Thomas Muller, Kai Havertz.
Injured: Leroy Sane
Like their more prestigious opponents, Japan also cruised to qualification for what will be their seventh successive World Cup campaign.
The Asians conceded just six goals in 18 qualifier games, comfortably fending off Australia to automatically secure their place in Qatar.
However, the Samurai Blues didn’t enjoy the smoothest warm-up friendlies for the tournament, losing 1-2 to Canada thanks to a 95th-minute penalty. Despite that setback, Hajime Moriyasu’s men will fancy their chances in this tournament after an impressive 2022, in which they list just twice in 13 games.
However, Japan must face off with 2014 winners Germany and 2010 champions Spain in this group to qualify for the next round, a task that no one will fancy. The omens remain ominous, too. Despite qualifying for the knockout stages in 2018, both of their last 16 appearances have been followed by a group-stage elimination in the next tournament.
Possible Japan starting line-up
Shuichi Gonda, Miki Yamane, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Maya Yoshida, Yuto Nagatomo, Wataru Endo, Hidemasa Morita, Junya Ito, Daichi Kamada, Takumi Minamino, Daizen Maeda.
|Germany to win||Draw||Japan to win|
Germany 2-0 Japan