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What do Spain need to qualify for the last 16 of the World Cup?

La Roja are top of Group E

Spain v Germany: Group E - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Spain sit top of Group E ahead of the final round of group fixtures after opening up with a 7-0 thrashing of Costa Rica and a 1-1 draw with Germany.

La Roja finish off their group campaign against Japan and just need a point to make it through. However, it’s an interesting group as all four teams can still progress to the knockout stages.

What do Spain need?

Spain v Germany: FIFA World Cup 2022 Photo by Mohammed Dabbous/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Spain will definitely progress if they avoid defeat to Japan. If Spain beat the Samurai Blue they will progress as group winners. La Roja will also finish top if they draw and Costa Rica draw or lose to Germany.

Luis Enrique’s side can still go out. If they lose to Japan and Costa Rica beat Germany then it’s curtains for Luis Enrique’s side.

If Spain lose to Japan and Germany beat Costa Rica then Japan will win the group. Spain and Germany will be level on points and second spot will be decided on goal difference and goals scored.

Who could Spain play?

Spain will play either Croatia, Belgium or Morocco in the last 16 from Group F. Canada have already been eliminated but the other three nations can still make it through.

Croatia and Morocco top the group on four points, with Belgium one point behind. The final round of fixtures sees Croatia take on Belgium, while Morocco will face off against Canada.

The teams will find out who they are playing next on Thursday when both groups conclude.

What does Luis Enrique think?

FBL-WC-2022-PRESSER-ESP Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

Luis Enrique has admitted he’s thought about trying to engineer a second-placed finish but it’s too risky.

“It’s a great question, because we’ve thought about it too,” he said.

“But imagine we want to finish second, we get to the 90th minute and it’s 0-0 in the two games, and in the 95th minute with 15 seconds left, Japan and Costa Rica both score. You gambled, and you’re out.

“Or imagine Germany are 5-0 up, we’re looking for a draw, and Japan score and we’re out. When you’re convinced that you have a very good team and you want to play seven games [to get to the final], it isn’t about finishing second.

“We want to finish first. If we play Brazil in the quarterfinals, great, we’ll play Brazil. But we won’t count our chickens before they’ve hatched.”

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