Japan defeated four-time world champions Germany 2-1 in their opening match of the 2022 World Cup on Wednesday afternoon..
Germany took the lead in Group E thanks to Ilkay Gundogan’s 33rd-minute penalty, but Japan came back in the second half, leveling through Ritsu Doan in the 75th minute before Takuma Asano won it eight minutes later.
Germany, who were eliminated in the group stage of the 2018 World Cup, will look to rebound against Spain on Sunday, while Japan will face Costa Rica on the same day.
Japan had the ball in the net against Germany in the eighth minute when Daizen Maeda tapped home from close range, but the offside flag was correctly raised.
Untidy work in the middle of the park by Gundogan had allowed Japan to break clear, and a brilliant cross from Junya Ito was converted, but he was clearly ahead of the final defender..
Germany’s first half-chance came in the 16th minute, when Antonio Rudiger met a corner from the left, but his header was always wide of the opposing goal.
In the 28th minute, Gundogan fired one into the arms of Japan’s goalkeeper, before the Manchester City midfielder had a goal-bound strike blocked shortly after, with Germany taking the lead..
Hansi Flick’s team was awarded a penalty in the 31st minute after David Raum was brought down by Shuichi Gonda, who bundled into the back of the defender, and Gundogan stepped forward to put his team ahead in the 33rd minute, sending the Japan goalkeeper the wrong way from the spot.
Late in the first period, Joshua Kimmich hit the crossbar of Japan before Jamal Musiala fired high of the target from outside the box, with Germany threatening a second before the break.
In first-half stoppage time, Kai Havertz turned a low Serge Gnabry cross into the back of the net from close range, but the offside flag denied the Chelsea attacker a goal..
Maeda then headed narrowly wide of the German post moments later, as both teams had chances to score before the half-time whistle.
After smart work from Thomas Muller, Gnabry struck over the Japan crossbar early in the second half, before Musiala hit the stands in the 51st minute after showing brilliant feet inside the box.
Just before the hour, Gundogan had a great chance to score a second when he burst towards the edge of the box, but his low effort clipped the outside of the post.
Gonda’s excellent goalkeeping kept Germany from scoring 20 minutes from time, with the stopper making a string of excellent saves in quick succession, most notably from Gnabry twice..
Manuel Neuer then expertly denied Ito down the other end before Hiroki Sakai fired wide of the post from the rebound.
However, Japan equalized in the 75th minute when Doan fired home from close range after Neuer could only palm a low cross into the penalty box.
In the 83rd minute, Asano met a long ball from Ko Itakura before holding off Nico Schlotterbeck’s challenge and finishing high into the net for Hajime Moriyasu’s team..
Goretzka hit the post, but Japan held on to secure a famous victory in Qatar, surviving a late chance for Niklas Sule, who had a close-range effort blocked.
Flick’s team now faces a must-win game against Spain, while Japan hopes to reach the competition’s knockout round for the fourth time..
Leave a Reply