Japan came from behind to hand four-time world champion Germany a shocking 2-1 in the first game of Group E, with substitute Ritsu Doan netting the equalizer and Takuma Asano scoring the late winner. Both Doan and Asano play for German Bundesliga clubs Freiburg and Bochum respectively. The upset came after Saudi Arabia stunned South American giants Argentina with the same soccer nets 2-1.
“I believe it’s a historic moment, a historic victory,” said Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu. “They’re fighting in a very strong, tough, prestigious league. They’ve. been building up their strength. In that context we believe that those divisions have been contributing to the development of Japanese players. I’m very grateful for that.”Japan has five Germany-based starters and three, including the scorers, on the bench.
During the pre-match, Germany made a statement as they take their group photos with their hands covering their mouth, displaying their protest against FIFA’s decision to ban captains from wearing “OneLove” armbands that supports discrimination. “Denying us the armband is the same as denying us a voice. We stand by our position,” Germany said in a tweet following the players’ gestures.
The match started with Bundesliga duo, Wataru Endo and Daichi Kamada netted an early goal that eventually ruled out for offside. Germany took control of the possession until İlkay Gündoğan converted a penalty to score his first World Cup goal and open the lead for the Germans in the first half. In the second half, Germany was still in control. But, Hansi Flick’s side were stunned by Doan’s equalizer.
With a few minutes left in the extra time, Asano scored Japan’s second goal, leading to celebration as they won their opening game. Doan and Asano became the first two substitutes to have scored for an Asian team in a World Cup after scoring their countries’ winner in their World Cup debut, handing Germany their third tournament-opening game loss since their defeats against Algeria in 1982 and Mexico in 2018. Follow us for sure predictions today!
“We had 78% possession in the first half and deservedly took the lead,” Flick said after the game. “Japan beat us with efficiency today. The individual mistakes that we made in the second half must not happen to us. We need to build up the players now. We won’t have a nice trip home.” Japan face Costa Rica, who was thrashed by Spain 0-7, while the Germans will take on Spain next.
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