Morocco vs Croatia (Group F): 3:30pm (10:00 GMT), Al Bayt Stadium
Germany vs Japan (Group E): 6:30pm (13:00 GMT), Khalifa International Stadium
Spain vs Costa Rica (Group E): 9:30pm (16:00 GMT), Al Thumama Stadium
Belgium vs Canada (Group F): 12:30am (19:00 GMT), Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium
What to expect:
Morocco vs Croatia
- Croatia are entering this World Cup 2022 tournament in excellent shape, having recently come out tops in their UEFA Nations League group, which included France, Denmark and Austria, and following a run of victories against all three sides in the European competition
- However, Jordan’s coach Adnan Hamad said that Morocco could be the team to watch at the World Cup as the North African team was capable of great surprises.
- “The Moroccan team is considered the best Arab team playing in the Qatar World Cup. It has 20 professional players from major European leagues. In the qualifiers, it passed with flying colours and has a major chance of progressing from the group,” Hamad told Al Jazeera in a recent interview.
Players to watch:
- Morocco’s superstar right-back Achraf Hakimi is one to watch based on his consistency for the national team and his club performances with Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan, and Paris Saint-Germain. Hakimi’s charges down the flanks and pinpoint crosses will be key for attacks by Morocco’s strikers.
- Luka Modric is considered critical to Croatia’s hopes of success in the tournament. Captaining the side and engineering its attacking play from central midfield, the 37-year-old is hugely admired and was awarded the prestigious Ballon d’Or in 2018, the highest individual accolade in the sport.
Germany vs Japan
- Germany are not among the outright favourites to win the World Cup 2022 this time around, but, as it is said, the German side can never be discounted.
- Though considered to be in a tricky group, which includes Costa Rica, Japan and Spain, the Germans are expected to progress to the round of 16 and maybe even reach the semi-finals.
- Japan tends to exceed expectations.
- At the 2018 World Cup, the Japanese side advanced to the round of 16, despite being placed in a group with tough opponents such as Poland, Senegal and Colombia.
- The Japan side have several players in European leagues and their World Cup 2022 squad is said to be as good as it has ever been when it comes to technical qualities.
Players to watch:
- Daichi Kamada is an attacking midfielder by trade who is said to be the engine of the Japanese team and will arguably be their most important player in the World Cup.
- He is also said to have a winning mentality, having helped Eintracht Frankfurt win the Europa League in May 2022.
- Germany have a solid lineup with the likes of Ilkay Gundogan, Joshua Kimmich and Jamal Musiala in midfield, while the front line with forwards Mario Gotze, Kai Havertz and Serge Gnabry are all said to be capable of putting away goals.