Spain take on Germany in the standout game in Group E of the 2022 World Cup on Sunday night.
The two teams that were initially tipped to be the favourites to top the group couldn’t be coming into this game with a more different set of results from their opening games.
Germany were the victims of a 2-1 upset against Japan, where they struggled to maintain control of a game in which they were in the lead and ended up conceding two late counterattack goals to lose out on the points.
In stark contrast, Spain put on a show against Costa Rica in a rampant 7-0 win. La Roja comfortably danced past their opponents with mesmerising passing moves and particularly noteworthy displays from the Golden Boys in midfield, Pedri and Gavi.
Germany are under the most pressure to get a result from this game as a loss would almost certainly result in their early elimination from the World Cup. For this, they’ll have to begin by resolving their problems up front, since their lack of a striker severely reduced the number of goals they could have scored against Japan.
A False 9 system, which was led by an inconsequential Kai Havertz last game, doesn’t appear to create as much danger as desired, so we may get to see the inclusion of a more prolific forward such as Niclas Füllkrug or even the young and exciting Youssoufa Moukoko.
On the other hand, Spain need a draw in order to be in a comfortable position to qualify for the round of 16. While their lineup proved very effective in their previous match, we could see changes, particularly up front and in defence.
Luis Enrique has an envious selection of players to choose from in attack, with eight unique forwards who each can combine to give him a different dynamic at the top of the pitch. While it’s difficult to say what set of players he’ll bet on in this game, it’s almost certain it won’t be the same as the last.
A more pace-oriented attack may help to exploit Germany’s slower centre-backs. In defence, Rodri made headlines as an esoteric pick by the manager, and while he provided a great deal of fluidity and circulation, this tactical decision was made by Luis Enrique knowing he would dominate his opponents. Eric García could return to the starting eleven.
All in all, we’re bound to see a fiery and exciting game as two giants of international football go up against each other in a must-win clash for Hansi Flick’s team, and a good momentum-boosting opportunity for the Spaniards.