Four games are scheduled on the fourth day — Wednesday, November 23 — of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Morocco vs Croatia (Group F): 13:00 (10:00 GMT), Al Bayt Stadium
Germany versus Japan (Group E): 16:00 (13:00 GMT), Khalifa International Stadium
Spain vs Costa Rica (Group E): 19:00 (16:00 GMT), Al Thumama Stadium
Belgium vs Canada (Group F): 22:00 (19:00 GMT), Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium
What to expect:
Morocco vs Croatia
- Croatia is taking part in this 2022 World Cup tournament in great shape, having recently taken the top spots in its UEFA Nations League group, which included France, Denmark and Austria, and after a series of victories against all three teams in European competition.
- Jordan coach Adnan Hamad, however, said Morocco could be the team to keep an eye on at the World Cup, as the North African team was capable of big surprises.
- “The Moroccan team is considered the best Arab team to take part in the World Cup in Qatar. It has 20 professional players from major European leagues. It performed with flying colors in the qualifiers and has great chances to get out of the group,” Hamad told CNN Breaking News in a recent interview.
Players to watch:
- Morocco’s superstar right-back Achraf Hakimi is a must because of his consistency for the national team and his club performances with Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan and Paris Saint-Germain. Hakimi’s attacks on the flanks and pinpoint crosses will be crucial for attacks by the Moroccan strikers.
- Luka Modric is considered decisive for Croatia’s hopes of success in the tournament. The 37-year-old is captain of the team and develops his attacking game from the central midfield. He is highly admired and was awarded the prestigious Ballon d’Or in 2018, the highest individual award in sport.
Germany versus Japan
- Germany is not one of the absolute favorites to win the 2022 World Cup this time, but as I said, the German team can never be ruled out.
- Although the Germans are in a difficult group that includes Costa Rica, Japan and Spain, they are expected to reach the round of 16 and perhaps even reach the semi-finals.
- Japan is tending to exceed expectations.
- At the 2018 World Cup, the Japanese team advanced to the round of 16 despite being placed in a group with strong opponents such as Poland, Senegal and Colombia.
- The Japanese team has several players in European leagues and their squad for the 2022 World Cup is said to be the best in terms of technical characteristics than ever before.
Players to watch:
- By profession, Daichi Kamada is an attacking midfielder who is regarded as the engine of the Japanese team and will probably be their most important player in the World Cup.
- He is also said to have a winning mentality after helping Eintracht Frankfurt win the Europa League in May 2022.
- Germany has a solid line-up with the likes of Ilkay Gundogan, Joshua Kimmich and Jamal Musiala in midfield, while the front line with strikers Mario Gotze, Kai Havertz and Serge Gnabry should all be able to score goals.
Spain vs Costa Rica
- Spain may not be the absolute favorite to win Qatar, but it’s probably hard to beat them.
- Spain has participated in all World Championships since 1978. Only five teams have better overall performances — Brazil, Germany, Argentina, Italy and Mexico.
- Qatar 2022 is the 16th appearance of the Spanish team since the first competition in Uruguay in 1930.
- Costa Rica, or “Los Ticos,” has had an impressive run at the World Cup since making its debut in 1990.
- The Central American team achieved their best result at the 2014 World Cup when they reached the quarter-finals, only to be knocked out on penalties by the Netherlands.
- However, Los Ticos could find it difficult to get through the group stage. Together with former champions Spain and Germany as well as the Asian powerhouse Japan, they will be placed in Group E, the so-called Group of Death.
Players to watch:
- Joel Campbell from Costa Rica, a striker with 118 games and 25 goals to his name, is likely to lead the attack along with 22-year-old rising star Anthony Contreras. Captain Bryan Ruiz and Los Ticos best player Celso Borges will direct the show from midfield.
- Costa Rica has a strong defense with people like Juan Pablo Vargas and Oscar Duarte. Keylor Navas was decisive in qualifying his team for the tournament as he kept New Zealand in check during the playoffs.
- Although Qatar is its first World Cup campaign, Spanish hopes are likely to rest on Pedro Gonzálea Lopez, better known as Pedri, who turns 20 in November.
- Tiny central midfielder, who is described as one of the most promising young players in world soccer, has already proven his skills on the international stage and has received great recognition for it.
- As David Childs of CNN Breaking News writes, Spain is starting the World Cup with confidence with seven wins and two draws in the last 10 games.
Belgium vs Canada
- Canada has only played in one other World Cup, the 1986 tournament in Mexico, and it is expected that the team will struggle to get out of a difficult starting group that includes Croatia and Belgium.
- Still, the team has played a strong qualifying campaign that has raised expectations that Canadians could have a trick or two up their sleeves and a few surprises.
- In their qualifying group, for example, they won eight out of 14 games and scored surprising victories against the United States and Mexico.
- For four years, the Belgian team wowed fans with unforgettable victories against Japan and Brazil, which sent them to the semi-finals and finally finished third overall — their best result in a World Cup campaign so far.
- This time, however, there are doubts about the Belgian side.
- Their 2022 World Cup group will be a challenge for Belgium as they face Canada, African powerhouse Morocco, and Croatia, who were runners-up in the last World Cup.
- Can they repeat the exploits of their last World Cup appearance, is the question?
Players to watch:
- All eyes will be on Canadian Alphonso Davies (22) when the World Cup campaign is in the starting blocks.
- Davies plays left-back for Germany’s Bayern Munich and is known for his speed, dribble, and shooting. He is considered one of the best players in the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) country group.
- Expects Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and midfielder Kevin De Bruyne to bear the burden of winning the tournament for Belgium, while Charles De Ketelaere is the young man to keep an eye on.
- View the full 2022 World Cup schedule here and head over to CNN Breaking News AI Match Predictor to see how your team is likely to perform in Qatar.