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Two former World Cup winners Spain

and Germany

are the obvious favorites to advance, and their meeting on Nov. 27 is the marquee match of the first round. Stingy Japan has a solid squad and is the more likely of the other two teams to upset the natural order if one of the giants slips up. As for aging Costa Rica

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, surviving the first round will be an exceedingly tall order.

Everything you need to know about Germany:

Coach: Hansi Flick

Highest finish: Winners (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014)

2018 finish: Group stage

FOX Bet odds: +1000

Key players:Joshua Kimmich, Thomas Müller, Antonio Rüdiger

What we’re excited to watch: Aside from a surprising loss to Hungary

, Germany has been superb since Flick replaced longtime manager Jogi Loew last year. This is the World Cup, though. That match against Spain will tell us where they really stand.

What success look like: Germany goes into every major tournament knowing it can win. As much as just making a deep run would suffice after the shock of their group stage exit four years ago (and the round of 16 loss to blood rival England

at last year’s Euros), Die Mannschaft will still be disappointed if they don’t claim a fifth world title.

Achilles heel: Roster composition. This is a team built to win the 2024 Euros on home soil; the 2022 version is caught between two generations, with 30-somethings Muller, Manuel Neuer and Ilkay Gundogan

on one side and teenagers Youssoufa Moukoko and Jamal Musiala on the other.

X-Factor: Moukoko. Just 17, the uncapped striker already has 11 goals in 44 Bundesliga appearances. After making the squad in place of injured veteran Marco Reus, he will be among the youngest participants in World Cup history if he steps on the field. 

Full roster

Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Kevin Trapp

Defenders: Armel Bella-Kotchap, Matthias Ginter, Christian Günter, Thilo Kehrer, Lukas Klostermann, David Raum, Antonio Rudiger, Nico Schlotterbeck, Niklas Süle

Midfielders: Julian Brandt, Niklas Füllkrug, Leon Goretzka, Mario Götze, Ilkay Gundogan, Jonas Hofmann, Joshua Kimmich, Jamal Musiala

Forwards: Karim Adeyemi, Serge Gnabry, Kai Havertz, Youssoufa Moukoko, Thomas Müller, Leroy Sané

Doug McIntyre is a soccer writer for FOX Sports. Before joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was a staff writer with ESPN and Yahoo Sports and he has covered United States mens and womens national teams at multiple FIFA World Cups. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre

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