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2022 World Cup, Day 8: Japan vs. Costa Rica; Belgium vs. Morocco; Croatia vs. Canada; Spain vs. Germany

Groups E & F in action

Germany v Japan: Group E - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Belgium manager Roberto Martínez doesn’t expect teams to start playing like their true selves until the second or third games of the group stage — thanks to the lack of preparation time for this mid-season World Cup — and we saw that idea manifest itself yesterday when the expected teams all won.

Upsets or no upsets, today’s matchups have the potential to be juicy either way.

JAPAN vs. COSTA RICA

Date / Time: Sunday, November 26, 2022, 10.00 GMT; 5am EST
Venue: Al-Rayyan Stadium, Al Rayyan, Qatar
Referee: Michael Oliver (England)

On TV: ITV 1 (UK); Fox Sports 1, Telemundo (USA); elsewhere
Streaming online: ITV Hub (UK); FOX Sports Live, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA)

Chelsea interest: Japan provided one of the biggest shocks of the tournament so far, with their dramatic 2-1 win over Germany, and now they take on a side who were roundly beaten by Spain, 7-0. But that’s probably not a true representation of the Ticos, who will want to prove as much. A win for Japan would guarantee them a spot in the knockout rounds, at the expense of either Germany or Spain.

FBL-WC-2022-TRAINING-MAR Photo by FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images

BELGIUM vs. MOROCCO

Date / Time: Sunday, November 26, 2022, 13.00 GMT; 8am EST
Venue: Al Thumama Stadium, Doha, Qatar
Referee: César Ramos (Mexico)

On TV: BBC One (UK); Fox Sports 1, Telemundo (USA); elsewhere
Streaming online: BBC iPlayer (UK); FOX Sports Live, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA)

Chelsea interest: Belgium won their first game, but it was a rather unimpressive effort from them (save for a few flashes of the old Eden Hazard) and Canada should count themselves very unfortunate to have not gotten anything out that game. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good! Morocco’s first game was an absolute slog, a scoreless draw. So, expect better from both, and our own Hakim Ziyech as well. Romelu Lukaku’s making good progress for Belgium in his hamstring recovery, but is not expected to feature just yet.

FBL-WC-2022-TRAINING-CRO Photo by OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images

CROATIA vs. CANADA

Date / Time: Sunday, November 26, 2022, 16.00 GMT; 11am EST
Venue: Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan, Qatar
Referee: Andres Matonte (Uruguay)

On TV: BBC One (UK); Fox Sports 1, Telemundo (USA); elsewhere
Streaming online: BBC iPlayer (UK); FOX Sports Live, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA)

Chelsea interest: Croatia disappointed in their first game, a 0-0 draw against Morocco. Canada impressed in their first game, a 0-1 defeat against Belgium. Football! The Canadians were quite fun to watch however, young, enterprising, fearless. Could they surprise the defending runners-up, or will Mateo Kovačić & Co find their true selves?

Germany Training Session and Press Conference - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

SPAIN vs. GERMANY

Date / Time: Sunday, November 26, 2022, 19.00 GMT; 2pm EST
Venue: Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan, Qatar
Referee: Andres Matonte (Uruguay)

On TV: BBC One (UK); Fox Sports 1, Telemundo (USA); elsewhere
Streaming online: BBC iPlayer (UK); FOX Sports Live, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA)

Chelsea interest: And then we come to the big one, a marquee matchup that probably needs no introduction. Spain seem to on the upswing, Germany are trying to be as well. But defeat here would see them eliminated in the group stage for the second World Cup running, which certainly would be shocking. And speaking of true selves, will the real Kai Havertz stand up today?

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