Groups E and F kick off on Wednesday with Spain, Germany and Belgium playing their first matches of the tournament. Spain and Germany are strong favourites To qualify from Group E. Could Japan or Costa Rica be spoilers in the first matches? Meanwhile, Belgium faces Canada in the Canadians’ first World Cup match since 1986.
Morocco vs Croatia
5 a.m. ET Wed, FS1
Will Croatia get a boost at the 2018 World Cup? After reaching the final four years ago, Luka Modric still leads the Croatian national team. However, this team is worse than the one that reached the last match of the tournament and does not exclude Morocco. This is a team that can easily pass the group stage. The tie can be right side up.
Germany versus Japan
8 a.m. ET Wed, FS1
Germany is the right-hand side here, though Japan, who got an unlucky equaliser, is not excluded. Japan will be a team tied out of a lot of other groups. We are excited to see how Germany line up and how Jamal Musiala impacts his first World Cup match. If there is a question about Germany, he is in the back line. Can Japan exploit that?
Spain vs Costa Rica
11 a.m. ET Wednesday, Fox
This is a game that will mainly be played in Costa Rica’s half and it’s no exaggeration to say that Spain can have 75% possession. It will be all about how Spain dismantles a Costa Rica team who will be content to put all eleven outfielders behind the ball and hit the counter and set-pieces whenever possible. Under 2.5 goals at +115 feels worth it.
Belgium versus Canada
2 p.m. ET Wednesday, Fox
Belgium will miss Romelu Lukaku after being left out at the start of the tournament. But there is still plenty of attacking and midfield talent in the squad and Belgium have the best player of the tournament in Kevin De Bruyne. It wouldn’t be surprising if Canada got a result here, but we’ll take the favourites.