Costa Rica, Germany , Spain , Japan
This group has two contenders to go all the way. Spain will almost certainly play some of the best soccer at the World Cup. International soccer is often cagey — teams will sit in and play on the counter — but this Spain team looks to break down their opposition through long spells of possession with the ball. If they can get their striker Alvaro Morata to finish the chances presented to them, they will make a deep run and beat Germany to first in this group. Germany is another great team, and they have one of the best coaches at the tournament, ex-Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick. Flick took over in 2021 and has quickly turned this team around after a Round of 16 exit at the European Championships of 2021 and a group stage exit in 2018. Between talented youngster Jamal Musiala, a prime Joshua Kimmich and veteran Thomas Muller, Germany have a midfield core to make any team worried. Japan would be a dark horse for the World Cup if they had been put in any other group. They have a strong team that likes to press high and get up the field quickly, which could in particular cause Spain some trouble in defense, and maybe get Japan a victory over the Red Fury. But even with their stellar kits, they likely won’t reach the knockout phase of the tournament. Costa Rica has had a long road to get to Qatar, going through the international playoff against New Zealand. They won’t go down without a fight, but it’s likely they will fall to three superior teams in the group.