After a disastrous start to the World Cup, Germany look to bounce back when they take on Spain on Sunday (7pm; TV: Live on BBC1). Can they improve or will the Spanish do to them what they did to Costa Rica? Read our preview and guide to this game with betting tips before all is revealed in this Group E clash at Al Bayt Stadium.
What have we learnt so far?
Ahead of this World Cup, many doubted Germany’s ability to improve on what was a poor showing at the last renewal of FIFA’s showpiece tournament. The general feeling was that the squad is not what it once was, and although there’s no shortage of talent, with lots of players playing at the very top of the club football tree, people were questioning if they really had enough about them to impress like the Germany of old.
On Wednesday afternoon, the doubters were proved right, as Hansi Flick’s men huffed and puffed but ultimately failed to blow down the house of their Japanese opponents, whose game plan worked to perfection. It was not that they did not create chances, and they certainly could have scored more goals than the one that Ilkay Gundogan netted from the spot during a frustrating first half, but everything was a little laboured. They were certainly guilty of overplaying and being less than clinical in the final third.
The Spanish had their doubters too. Prior to their Wednesday evening kick-off against Costa Rica, some pundits questioned their ability to score goals, while they also questioned whether Spain’s young players had the experience and the nous to compete seriously at a World Cup.
Unlike the Germans, the Spaniards proved their doubters wrong, as they delivered about as dominant a performance as you could hope to see at a World Cup. From the first whistle, they were on the ball, playing neat and incisive football, which led to numerous chances being created. Boy, did the youngsters take their chances, notching seven goals on their way to recording a confidence-boosting first win. Few teams have left an impression as positive as the one left by those in the red of Spain during the first round of fixtures, that is for sure.
Improvements needed in all areas
The way in which Germany went about their business against Japan was disappointing. Sure, they produced moments of quality, mainly when the tricky Jamal Musiala got on the ball and ran at players, but even he failed to come up with the goods when it really mattered. As touched on in this preview above, they lacked a cutting edge, with almost all of the promising moves breaking down thanks to either poor decision making or poor execution near the opposition goal.
The problems go deeper than that, though, as Germany’s defensive limitations were well and truly exposed by the Japanese. By simply looking to apply pressure and get forward with haste, Japan really had the German rear guard struggling, so much so that they really could have and perhaps should have scored more than two goals. That must be a huge worry for Hansi Flick ahead of a game against a Spanish side that looked both incredibly creative and clinical on match-day one.
Stick with the Spanish
The early market has not reacted too heavily to what happened in round one, and although the opening results are far from the be all and end all, the Spanish look overpriced.
While the Germans flattered to deceive, at both ends of the pitch, the Spanish really did impress, so much so that they ought to be shorter in the betting and come kick-off on Sunday night probably will be.
Luis Enrique’s men shown much more than the Germans not only in terms of end-product but in terms of decisiveness and passing quality in the final third, and that’s key. While one team looks to be going through something of an identity crisis, the other appears to know exactly what they are doing, and didn’t they do it superbly last time out.
At 7/5, a Spain win is hard to oppose. Equally, at odds of 11/10, consider a bet on the Spaniards to score more than once. Sure, the Germans will be tougher to face than Costa Rica, but as Germany go chasing this game, because anything other than a win leaves them in a desperate situation, Spain’s clever young attack has the quality to do some real damage. After all, the last time the pair met, back in 2020, Spain scored no fewer than six goals in a Nations League demolition of a Germany side that performed much as they did against Japan just a few days ago.
It is not just that Hansi Flick’s men conceded twice in the first game, oh no. They conceded three goals against England at Wembley in late September, while they have now kept just one clean sheet in their last nine, and that came against lowly Oman in a warm-up game ahead of this tournament. In recent times, Italy, England and now Japan have fully exposed a German defensive line that no longer looks the force of old, so do not be surprised if a dynamic and fluid Spanish attack takes advantage on Sunday. So these are the betting tips for this World Cup game preview:
- Spain to win @ best odds of 7/5 with Betfred.
- Spain to score over 1.5 goals @ 11/10, also top with Betfred.
Bradley Gibbs is an experienced football writer. He is an expert analyst on Premier League, and all global football leagues & tournaments, for Just Bookies. Bradley has been published by many respected outlets, including USA Betting and the Racing & Football Outlook. He has also written betting strategy guides.