Predicted XIs Japan-Spain: Luis Enrique to ring the changes for final group game

Spain face Japan in their final group game of the World Cup at 20:00 CEST on Thursday night, in the knowledge that they are all but through to the knockout stages. Having seen Japan dispose of Germany, Spain manager Luis Enrique is unlikely to take anything for granted.

Much of the narrative in Spain has been around whether La Roja would actually prefer to finish second in the group and avoid a potential quarter-final tie against Brazil.

Spain know that a win or a draw will take them through to the knockout stages. If Costa Rica do not beat Germany, then it will see them through top. If they lose, it will come down to goal difference.

Marca believe that Luis Enrique will shuffle the pack, making four changes from their draw against Germany. Alvaro Morata will return to the frontline, while Ansu Fati will make his first appearance.

Gavi missed training during the week and they expect him to miss out for Carlos Soler, while Alejandro Balde will rotate in for Jordi Alba.

Sport predict wholesale changes. Their view is that only Aymeric Laporte will keep his place in the outfield line-up. A forward line could see a first start for Nico Williams and a rarely used midfield three of Koke Resurreccion, Marcos Llorente and Soler.

From a Japanese point of view, Takefusa Kubo is predicted to start on the left side by both outlets, with Japan retaining an attacking outlook. They know that even a draw will likely see them eliminated, as Germany would need to win by two against Costa Rica.

Tags 2022 World Cup Costa Rica Germany Japan Spain La Roja
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