It’s day four of the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar and a heavy duty offering awaits with another quartet of football fixtures on the global stage.
Germany and Spain are providing the gravitas in Group E, with Japan and Costa Rica their respective opening opponents.
Group F, meanwhile, pits Morocco against Croatia in the early kick off, before Belgium take on Canada under the lights once the desert heat has subsided.
World Cup predictions and fixtures for 23 November
*All kick off times are in Central Africa Time.
Group E: Germany vs Japan – 15.00
Fifa World Cup 2022 Group E kicks off in Qatar on Wednesday with the curiosity of a contest between Germany and Japan.
The Germans, winners in 2014, were dumped out in pool phase ignominy in Russia last time around before falling to old enemies England in the European Championships at the Round of 16 stage.
Such failure has been unheard of in a lifetime, meaning coach Hansi Flick is under pressure to improve sharpish, following the fizzling out of the era of his predecessor, Joachim Low.
They come up against the new-look Japanese, who themselves are setting out to progress beyond their own grimly familiar last 16 stumbling block.
Group E: Spain vs Costa Rica – 18.00
World Cup 2010 champions Spain enter the 2022 edition a much altered beast, as they tackle Costa Rica in their Group E opener in Qatar.
Fans of any competing nation or none should be rewarded for their time, thanks to coach Luis Enrique’s unbending approach to attacking, pressing football.
Feeling the heat first (or having first go at exploiting any gaps at the back) are Costa Rica.
Los Ticos are completely revamped under coach Luis Fernando Suarez, with a repeat of their 2014 quarter-final appearance very much in mind despite the tough nature of their pool.
Group F: Morocco vs Croatia – 12.00
Morocco and Croatia kick off the Group F action on Wednesday at the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar.
The pair meet thanks to the Atlas Lions reaching their second straight global tournament, having topped their African qualifying group before dispensing with DR Congo in their play-off.
Paris Saint-Germain star Achraf Hakimi will be key to any chances of a foray into the knockout stages, with the Croats a tough starting point.
Luca Modric remains totemic for the 2018 finalists, who have reshaped much of their squad since then amid a bumpy journey to the Middle East.
Group F: Belgium vs Canada – 21.00
Wednesday’s Fifa World Cup action concludes with a Group F tussle between Belgium and returning Canada.
An over-the-hill golden generation that never quite made it still plugs away for the European nation, who do at least boast the world class Kevin de Bruyne and Thibaut Courtois in their spine.
All the pressure, then, is on inflexible coach Roberto Martinez, who goes up against an opposite number in John Herdman who could scarcely be more popular back home in North America.
Steering his side to a first World Cup since 1986 – and only a second ever – after sterling work with the Canadian women’s national team, it’s a free swing for an interesting underdog side in the desert.