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Japan’s late comeback stunned Germany in a 2-1 win

by SuperiorInvest

Japan celebrates during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E match against Germany at the Khalifa International Stadium on November 23, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.

Brad Smith | ISI Photo | Getty Images Sports | Getty Images

Japan stunned Germany with a late comeback in their World Cup opener as goals from Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano saw them win 2-1 at the Khalifa International Stadium.

Japan had never beaten their European opponents before but capitalized on German errors and missed chances to secure a famous victory in their Group E opener.

Striker Thomas Muller said after the match: “It’s ridiculous to be here with a defeat. We played a good game for a long time, but the game is also marked by the chances you turn into goals.”

Japan had an early ‘goal’ from Daizen Maedo, who was also ruled out for offside, but Hansi Flick’s side soon went ahead after goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda’s clumsy challenge on David Rauma gave them a penalty and Ilkay Gundogan slotted home (33).

Germany thought they had scored a second late in the first half, but Kai Havertz’s effort was also ruled out for offside.

The four-time World Cup winners continued to see chances come and go – Gundogan hit the post every hour – before Japan used their lightning-quick attack to score twice late on.

Did you know?

  • Germany have not lost a World Cup game when leading at half-time since 1978.

Four minutes after coming on as a substitute, Doan (75) turned home from close range after Manuel Neuer’s save. Germany were then caught with the ball over the top, allowing Asano (83) to sneak the ball home from a tight angle.

Japan’s Ritsu Doan scores his first goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E match against Germany at the Khalifa International Stadium on November 23, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.

Marc Atkins | Getty Images Sports | Getty Images

Each Japanese goal was greeted with a team pack at the corner flag and joyous celebrations followed at full time. “It’s a big surprise. We saw Saudi Arabia’s victory over Argentina – Asian countries are reaching the global standard,” said Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu.

For Germany, their poor form at the World Cup continues, having finished bottom of their group at the 2018 tournament.

How Japan secured a famous victory

Japan started brightly and had the ball in the net within seven minutes. Gundogan was muscled off the ball in midfield before Junya Ito drove down the right wing. Maeda then fired his cross in, but it was a yard offside.

Germany soon began to find their bearings and had a number of chances after 20 minutes. Joshua Kimmich saw his effort deflected off Gondo from distance before Gundogan skied home. The Man City midfielder then saw an effort go straight at Gonda before another effort was well blocked a minute later.

Big moments in the game…

  • 7 min: Maeda’s early goal was ruled out for offside.
  • 32 min: Germany awarded a penalty after Gonda’s foul on Rauma, which Gundogan scores.
  • 45+3 min: Havertz’s goal is ruled out for offside.
  • 61 min: Gundogan sees his effort hit the post.
  • 75 min: Doan scores Japan’s equalizer shortly after coming on as a substitute.
  • 83 min: Asano scores the winner for Japan after a long ball over the top.

But for all Gonda’s good work in the opening half hour, his sloppy goalkeeping was then punished by Germany when he raced towards Raum, tipped him over before catching a defender again and almost landing on him.

After having two previous attempts blocked, Gundogan stepped up and expertly dispatched his free-kick to see the four-time World Cup winners in front.

Germany then began to dominate and thought they had a second in the third minute of four added at the end of the first half. Havertz headed in Serge Gnabry’s cross, but the goal was rightly ruled out for offside after a VAR review.

Japan could have added more variety to the end of the first half, but Maeda sent a header just wide of the goal.

Japan’s Takuma Asano scores his team’s second goal behind Germany’s Manuel Neuer during the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup Group E match at the Khalifa International Stadium on November 23, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.

Dean Mouhtaropoulos | Getty Images Sports | Getty Images

It was the very start of the second half and Gundogan should have added another on the hour mark. The impressive Jamal Musiala drove down the left before setting up the midfielder from 15 yards. However, Gundogan’s effort smashed the underside of the bar and flew wide. In the 70th minute, Gonda also denied Jonas Hoffman and Gnabry in quick succession.

But the Japanese comeback was on the horizon, with Neuer’s first save of the game coming soon after, denying Asano. He made another fine stop during the run-up to Japan’s equaliser, getting onto Takumi Minamino’s cut-back, but Doan lurked inside the area to pounce from close range.

However, Neuer would like to do better for the Japanese champions. A long ball over the top from the right caught Asano behind the defense and the striker drove into the area. He held off Nico Schlotterbeck before pushing the ball past the keeper and into the far corner.

It was a frantic end to the match as Germany pushed for an equaliser. Leon Goretzka flashed a volley round the post as Neuer emerged to provide another body in the area, but it proved ineffective. The Japanese bench celebrated each clearance as a goal as they held on for the vital three points.

Germany covered their mouths in a free speech protest before kick-off | The minister wears OneLove on her sleeve

Before kick-off, German players covered their mouths in a photo of their team in an apparent protest of freedom of speech.

This comes after a number of European football associations were threatened with FIFA sanctions if they wear the ‘OneLove’ armband during the World Cup.

The DFB later tweeted about the gesture, saying: “With our captain’s armband, we wanted to set an example for the values ​​we live in the national team: diversity and mutual respect.

“Be loud with other nations. This is not a political message: human rights are non-negotiable. That should be self-evident. But unfortunately it still isn’t. That’s why this message is so important to us. Banning us from the bandage is like banning our mouths . Our stance stands.”

German Federal Minister of the Interior and Community Nancy Faeser also wore a OneLove armband at a match after FIFA threatened sporting sanctions for wearing the armband.

Flick and Neuer admit: We are under pressure

German manager Hansi Flick:

“With this defeat and zero points, we are under pressure, there is no doubt about that. We have only ourselves to blame. It is very disappointing.

“We went the right way in the first half, we had 78 percent of the ball and we were 1-0 up. Then we had good chances in the second half that we didn’t take.

“Japan were just more efficient today. We made mistakes that we should never make, especially at the World Cup, and those are things we need to improve on.”

German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer:

“I’m totally frustrated and angry that we let this game slip away, it wasn’t necessary. We didn’t have the flow of the game after the break and we didn’t play with the same confidence we had in the first half.”

“Now we are under pressure from the start. This was also the most important game to start the tournament, but we messed it up.”

Japanese coach Hajime Moriyasu:

“We wanted to start playing aggressively, we wanted to dominate the game. But Germany is very strong, so we needed to defend persistently and take our chances.

“At the end they came at us full force, in the past we might have lost but the players played in Germany and Europe where they learned so much so we held on.

“Unified as one, we needed to hang on until the final whistle and we were able to seize our opportunity.”

Scientists: “Huge shock”

Gary Neville from Sky Sports on ITV:

“I absolutely expected Germany to win that game. It’s a huge shock. Japan are no mugs, but it just goes to show that if you’re not quite comfortable with it, you’re in for a big surprise. What surprised me about the second goal was that Manuel Neuer turned to allow the ball to go past him.

“Normally, Neuer stands strong and is a great goalkeeper. The result will shake up the tournament.”

Graeme Souness from Sky Sports on ITV:

“It’s an almighty blow. When you’re a coach, and when you’re a Spanish manager, the result partly filled his team talks.” [against Costa Rica]. He’ll be reminding them that they could slip up tonight if they don’t screw it up.”

Roy Keane from Sky Sports on ITV:

“Obviously the result didn’t just come out of nowhere, but when you play Germany – we talked about them learning from past mistakes at the last World Cup – you lose 1-0.

“It’s a long way back and all [Japan] the manager deserves a lot of credit. He had to make those changes and it was part of his game plan because he had to freshen things up.

“They were clinical. There were questions about Neuer for the second goal, but you can’t begrudge them the win.”

“There was never any doubt that they would bring spirit, fight and energy to the party, but they have shown intelligence and great quality.

“Often you see subs who can’t get into the pace of the game, but they all had an impact to lift their teammates around them. They all affected the game.

“They lifted up their country.

What does the result mean?

After the opening two games of Group E, Germany is third Spain beat Costa Rica 7-0 later on Wednesday. Japan is second behind the 2010 winners.

Why it may not pay to host the World Cup

The two teams play again on Saturday when Germany take on Spain – which was seen as a shootout for first and second place in the group but could now see Germany on the brink of exit if they lose – while Japan face Costa Rica.

In the final group games on Thursday 1st December, Germany take on Costa Rica, while Spain take on Japan, who will be hoping to cause another upset against one of Europe’s most successful teams.

Opta statistics — historic victory for Japan

  • Japan came from behind to win a World Cup match for the first time ever, drawing twice and losing 11 of their 13 matches on the losing end before today.
  • Germany have lost their opening game in just one of their first 18 World Cup tournaments (W13 D4) and have lost their first game in each of the last two World Cups.
  • Through Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano, Japan became the first team to score from two substitutes in a single World Cup match against Germany.
  • Since 1966, only Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi in 2006 (10 vs. Brazil) has made more saves in a single World Cup match for Japan than Shuichi Gonda’s eight today.

Man of the Match — Jamal Musiala

He may have been on the losing team, but Germany’s Musiala lit up the Khalifa International Stadium. He has shown excellent ability throughout, especially in the second half, and is set for a breakthrough tournament in Qatar.

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