The first and second teams in Group E will lock horns at the Khalifa International Stadium when Spain and Japan meet in a decisive fixture.
A draw could see both teams through if Costa Rica and Germany play out a draw.
If Germany wins by a one goal margin, it will also keep the group’s hierarchy unchanged.
Japan caused one of the biggest upsets of the tournament when they came from behind to beat Germany 2-1 in their opening fixture. But they failed to follow up with another win against Costa Rica.
The Blue Samurais dominated the proceedings, but a Keysher Fuller goal drew the line between the two sides.
A return to winning ways on Thursday night will allow Japan to go to the round of 16 as the group champions.
Sharing the points might also work, but in that case, they will have to bank on Costa Rica, making Germany drop points. A narrow German victory will also keep Japan’s second spot secured.
Spain were widely expected to start their campaign with a win, but a few could have foreseen a seven-goal win.
Spain were denied a second victory late into the game when Germany equalised through Niclas Füllkrug in the 81st minute.
Spain will not have to crunch the numbers if they share the spoils with Japan.
They will go through with five points but might miss out on the top spot. A win will make sure that La Roja will finish atop Group E.
Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu has a number of injury concerns to worry about before the match.
Takehiro Tomiyasu, Hiroki Sakai and Wataru Endo might not be available to feature against Germany. Ao Tanaka or Gaku Shibasaki will come in to fill Endo’s void in the midfield.
Spain might be without their midfield metronome Gavi, who nurtures a small injury.
The Barcelona midfielder has not been ruled out of the tie yet, but if he does, Marcos Llorente, Koke, or Carlos Soler could take his place.
Sergio Busquets will be on the bench as he is one yellow away from suspension.
So, Rodri will move into his usual midfield position. Eric García or Pau Torres could fill in for him at the back.
Japan could take a stern test of Spain’s ability.
Their youthful squad might grind out a draw against Spain, who will be rotating their squad. We believe this is going to be another 1-1 affair.
Date: December 2
Kickoff: 12:30 IST
Venue: Khalifa International Stadium