Japan celebrates during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E match against Germany at Khalifa International Stadium on November 3. 23, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.

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Japan stunned Germany with a late comeback in the opening match of the World Cup, with goals from Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano sealing a 2-1 victory at Khalifa International Stadium.

Japan had never beaten their European opponents before, but they capitalized on Germany’s mistakes and missed chances to secure a famous victory in the first match of Group E.

Striker Thomas Müller said after the match: “It’s absurd to be here after a defeat. We’ve played a good game over such long periods of time, but the game also has its chances of turning you into goals.”

Japan had an early “goal” from Daisen Maeda that was ruled out for offside, but coach Hansi Flick’s team quickly advanced after a clumsy challenge from goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda on David Raum gave them a penalty kick and Ilkay Gundogan scored in the net from the penalty mark (33).

Germany thought they had scored the second goal at the end of the first half, but Kai Havertz’s goal was ruled out for offside.

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

did you know

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

Four minutes after coming on as a substitute, Duane (75) came home from close range after making a save on Manuel Neuer. Then Germany was caught with a volley over the ball, allowing Asano (83) to smuggle the ball home at a tight angle.

Japan’s Ritsu Doan scored his first goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E match against Germany at Khalifa International Stadium on November 3. 23, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.

Mark Atkins | Getty Images Sports | Getty Images

Each of Japan’s goals was greeted with the team’s pack in the corner, and there were happy celebrations throughout. Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu said, “It’s a big surprise. We saw Saudi Arabia beat Argentina – Asian countries reach the world level.”

For Germany, their poor World Cup performance continues, after they finished last in their group at the 2018 tournament.

How did Japan get a famous victory?

Japan started brightly and found the ball in the net within seven minutes. Gundogan left the ball in the middle of the field before Junya Eto’o fell down the right. Maeda then made his cross home, but it was an offside yard.

Germany quickly started to get back on its feet and had a series of chances after the 20-minute mark. Joshua Kimmich’s effort was seen from long range by Gonda before Gondogan skated the rebound. The Man City midfielder then saw an effort go straight at Gonda, before another effort was saved a minute later.

Big moments in the game…

  • Seventh minute: Maeda’s early goal was ruled out for offside.
  • The 32nd minute: Germany awarded a penalty kick after Gonda fouled Raum, and Gundogan scored it.
  • 45 + 3 minutes: Havertz’s goal is ruled out for offside.
  • 61st minute: Gundogan sees that his effort has reached the post.
  • 75th minute: Doan scores the equalizer for Japan shortly after coming on as a substitute.
  • 83rd minute: Asano scores the winner for Japan after a long ball over the ball.

But for all of Gonda’s good work in the first half hour, his rickety keepers handed Germany a penalty as he raced to meet Raum, tipping him around before grabbing the defender again and nearly landing on top of him.

After blocking two previous attempts, Gundogan stepped up and expertly served the penalty to see the four-time World Cup winners come to the fore.

Then Germany began to dominate and thought they had a second in the third minute of four extras at the end of the first half. Havertz scored from a Serge Gnabry cross, but after a VAR check, the goal was disallowed for offside.

Japan could have made the end of the first half more interesting, but Maeda headed a header wide.

Japan’s Takuma Asano scored his team’s second goal against Germany’s Manuel Neuer during a Group E match of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 at Khalifa International Stadium on November 3. 23, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.

Brigadier General Mhtaropoulos | Getty Images Sports | Getty Images

The second half was from start to finish, and Gundogan was supposed to add another every hour. An impressive Jamal Musiala drove left before the quarterback made a 15-yard touchdown run. However, Gundogan’s effort crashed down the post and went wide. In the 70th minute, Gonda blocked Jonas Hofmann and Gnabry in quick succession.

But a Japan comeback was in sight, with Neuer’s first save of the match soon after, denying Asano. He made another fine stop by powering up Japan’s equalizer as well, helping to pare back a Takumi Minamino throw, but Doan lurked just inside the area to slot home from close range.

However, Neuer wanted to do better for the Japanese winner. A long ball over the right caught Asano behind the defence, with the striker pushed into the area. Niko Schloterbeck saved before pressing the ball past the goalkeeper and into the far corner.

It was a frenzied end to the match as Germany pushed for an equaliser. Leon Goretzka flashed a long ball off the post as Neuer came in to deliver another corpse into the area, but it proved ineffective. Every clearance was celebrated as a goal by the Japanese bench as they held a vital three points.

Germany covers mouths to protest against freedom of speech before kick-off | Minister wearing a OneLove badge

Before kick-off, Germany’s players covered their mouths in the team’s photo in an apparent protest against freedom of expression.

This came after a number of European football associations threatened FIFA sanctions if they wore the “OneLove” armband during the World Cup.

The FA 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 countries. This is not about a political message: human rights are non-negotiable. It should go without saying. But unfortunately it still is. That’s why this message is so important to us. Banning us from bandaging is like blocking our mouths, and our position stands. “.

Minister of the Interior and German Federal Society Nancy Visser He also wore the OneLove armband at the match after FIFA threatened sporting sanctions for wearing the armband.

Flick and Neuer admit: We are under pressure

Germany manager Hansi Flick:

“With this defeat and zero points, we are under pressure, there is no doubt about that. We can only blame ourselves. It is a huge disappointment.

“We were on the right track in the first half, we had 78 per cent possession and we were leading 1-0. Then we had good chances in the second half that we didn’t take.

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

Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer:

“I’m completely frustrated and angry that we let this game slip away, it wasn’t necessary. After the break we didn’t have the flow of this game anymore and we didn’t play with the same confidence as in the first half.

“Now we are under pressure from the start. This was also the most important match in how you started in the tournament but we messed it up.”

Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu:

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

“In the end they came at us full force, in retrospect we might have lost but the guys were playing in Germany and Europe and they learned a lot from that, so we stuck around.

“United as one, we needed to hold out until the final whistle and we managed to take our chance.”

Critics: Huge shock

Gary Neville from ITV’s Sky Sports:

“For sure, I expected Germany to win that game. It’s a big shock. Japan are not just cups but they just show that when you’re not good, you get a big surprise. What surprised me with the second goal was that Manuel Neuer turned his body to let the ball go past him.

“Normally, Neuer stands strong and is a brilliant goalkeeper. The result will send shock waves through the tournament.”

Graeme Souness from ITV’s Sky Sports:

“It’s a powerful blow. When you’re a coach, and if you’re the Spanish manager, the result partially filled his team’s speech [against Costa Rica]. It will remind them that they can go wrong tonight unless they knock it over.”

Roy Keane from Sky Sports on ITV:

“Of course, the result didn’t come out of nowhere, but when you play Germany – we talked about them learning from past mistakes in the last World Cup – you go 1-0 behind.

Long way back etc [Japan] A manager who deserves huge credit. He had to make these changes and it was part of his game plan where he had to revamp things.

“They were clinical. There were question marks over Neuer for the second goal, but you can’t begrudge them a win.

“There was no doubt that they would bring spirit, combativeness, and energy to the party, but they showed impressive intelligence and quality.

“Often, you see substitutes who can’t handle the game quickly, but each of them has had the effect of lifting up the teammates around them. They all affected the game.

“They raised their country.”

What does the score mean?

After the first two matches in Group E, Germany was in third place behind Germany Spain beat Costa Rica 7-0 later on wednesday. Japan comes second behind the 2010 winners.

Why may not come off to host the World Cup

The two sides meet again on Saturday as Germany face Spain – who were seen as a penalty shootout for first and second in the group but could now see Germany on the brink of elimination if they lose – while Japan take on Costa Rica.

In the final group matches on Thursday 3 December. In first place, Germany will play Costa Rica while Spain will face Japan, who will be hoping to cause another upset against one of the most successful teams in Europe.

Opta Stats – Japan’s Historic Win

  • Japan came from behind to win a World Cup match for the first time, after drawing twice and losing 11 out of 13 matches when it was trailing before today.
  • Having lost their opening match in only one of their first 18 World Cups (W13 D4), Germany have lost their first match in each of their two World Cups.
  • Through Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano, Japan became the first team to score two substitutes in a single World Cup match against Germany.
  • Since 1966, only Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi in 2006 (10 against Brazil) has made more saves in a single World Cup match for Japan than those eight made by Shoichi Gonda today.

Best player of the match: Jamal Musiala

He might have been on the losing team, but German Musiala lit up Khalifa International Stadium. He showed impressive skill throughout, particularly in the second half and is due to play a break in Qatar.