FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
German campaign in Qatar begins today
The four-time champion Germany is set to begin its World Cup Group-E campaign today (Wednesday) with its first match against Japan at 07:00 pm at Khalifa International Stadium in Ar-Rayyan city of Qatar.
The German boys are ranked 11th in the latest FIFA ranking. The Japanese are, on the other hand, ranked 24th.
Germany and Japan have never locked horns at this stage of the FIFA World Cup before. But the four-time World Cup champions are unbeaten in both of their previous meetings, winning a friendly in 2004 by 3-0 before a 2-2 draw in another exhibition game in 2006.
Germany, Die Mannschaft (the team), was eliminated from the group stage four years ago in 2018, while its Asian counterpart was on the verge of stunning Belgium in the last 16 before being eliminated then.
But, the recent performance of the Germans is not so incredible at all. They only won two of the last eight matches they played. So, the recent statistics may not serve well to increase German confidence. Besides, they finished third in their Nations League group a few days back. Still, a 1-0 win over Oman in a warm-up friendly last Wednesday may give them hope for the mission.
However, the usual German game plan involves speed and force which are part and parcel of the German booters and the interruption of recent a video assistant referee (VAR) system may slow them down a little bit.
The story of their opponents is more interesting. Japan's team has made a habit of going out in the group stage before reaching the last 16 of the World Cup in their six tournaments since 1998.
There are three more matches on the day. FIFA's ranked 2nd Belgium will take on 41st-ranked Canada at 1:00 am. Before that, Morocco will face Croatia at 4:00 pm and 2010 champion Spain will meet Costa Rica at 10:00 pm.
This World Cup is different from the previous ones on many accounts. One thing that is certain about this edition of the FIFA World Cup is none is a hot favourite or a big team. All team in this stage has the equal ability and chance to win and no group can be called the 'easy group' or the 'group of death'. Some of those so-called big guns have already suffered against the small fries this time.