Spain 1-1 Germany: What’s your prediction?
Spain could be given a taste of their own medicine when they take on Germany in a potentially decisive clash at the World Cup on Sunday because both European heavyweights seek to control games by dominating possession, Spain coach Luis Enrique said.
"Without a doubt, they are the team that is most similar to Spain in terms of dominating the play and controlling it. That is a beautiful challenge for us," Luis Enrique told reporters on Saturday. "I think it will be an open game."
Germany, by contrast, suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to Japan in Group E, prompting reporters to ask the Spain coach if he was worried about the risk of a desperate German fight-back in the Al Bayt Stadium on Sunday night.
"Will Germany be more dangerous because they need the win more? You never know in football," Luis Enrique said.
The Germans suffered their earliest tournament in 80 years when they crashed out of the first round at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. They were also eliminated in the Last 16 at last year's Euro.
"The last two tournaments were not (good)," Flick said. "We want to avoid a repeat of this. The focus is on concentration. This is the first final for us at the World Cup and that's what it's about - to avoid a repeat of that."
28th November, 01:00 am, Bangladesh time
Al-Bayt Stadium, Al Khor, Qatar.
Spain: (4-3-3) Simon (GK), Carvajal, Laporte, P Torres, Alba, Pedri, Busquets, Gavi; F Torres, Asensio, Olmo
Germany: (4-2-3-1) Neuer (GK), Kehrer, Rudiger, Schlotterbeck, Raum, Gundogan, Kimmich; Gnabry, Muller, Musiala, Havertz
* Spain were World Cup winners in 2010 - their one success to date - while Germany have won the trophy four times, most recently in 2014 in Brazil.
* Spain thrashed Germany 6-0 in their last meeting in November 2020 in the UEFA Nations League.
* Spain will qualify for the knockout stage with a win. Defeat for Germany would mean elimination if Japan take at least a point from their match against Costa Rica.
* Germany failed to clear the group stage at the last World Cup in Russia in 2018 when they lost matches to Mexico and South Korea. It was their earliest exit in the competition in decades.
Previous meetings: The two sides have met 25 times previously, with Germany winning on nine occasions, Spain on eight and eight draws.
Prediction: Spain 1-1 Germany
Following is a statbox on Spain at the World Cup.
FIFA Ranking: 7
Spain made their World Cup debut in Italy in 1934 and have appeared in every tournament from 1978. They won the trophy in 2010 to join seven other nations that have won at least one title along with Brazil (5), Germany (4), Italy (4), Argentina (2), France (2), Uruguay (2) and England (1). Since lifting the trophy, they were knocked out in the group stage in 2014 and in the last-16 in 2018.
How they qualified:
Spain had to wait until their last group game to seal their World Cup qualification, winning 1-0 at home against Sweden to finish top of Group B on 19 points, four ahead of the Swedes in second place in a group that also included Greece, Georgia and Kosovo.
Following is a statbox on Germany at the World Cup.
FIFA Ranking: 11
Making their 20th World Cup appearance, Germany have won the title four times. After a surprise 1954 victory over favourites Hungary, they lifted the trophy as West Germany in 1974 at home and again in 1990 before their triumph at Brazil 2014.
They were also runners-up four times and reached at least the semi-finals in all editions between 2002 and 2014.
But they suffered a shock first round exit as defending champions at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, their earliest elimination in the tournament for 80 years.
How they qualified
The Germans, who started the qualifiers under then coach Joachim Loew before current coach Hansi Flick took over in September last year, had a near flawless run through Group J with nine wins and a loss.
Their only defeat was a 2-1 at home against North Macedonia.
They scored 36 goals and conceded just four as they finished top of the group that also included Romania, Armenia, Iceland and Liechtenstein.