Japan get 2 late goals to upset Germany 2-1 at World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Another World Cup bye, another World Cup shock.

Substitutes Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano scored late goals on Wednesday as Japan came from behind to upset Germany 2-1.

Both Doan and Asano play for German top clubs.

“I believe it is a historic moment, a historic victory. When I think about the development of Japanese football, about players, it was a big surprise for them,” said Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu, who had five German-based players in his starting line-up and three, including the scorers, on the Bank. .

“They are fighting in a very strong, tough, prestigious competition. They have built up their strength. In that context, we believe that those divisions (Bundesliga and second division) have contributed to the development of Japanese players,” said Moriyasu. “I am very grateful for that.”

Ilkay Gundogan had put four-time champions Germany ahead with a penalty in the first half. But Doan, who plays for Freiburg, pounced on a rebound to equalize in the 76th minute after Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer blocked a shot from Takumi Minamino.

Then Asano, who plays for Bochum, sprinted away from Nico Schlotterbeck to beat Neuer from a close angle in the 83rd minute of the first competitive meeting between the two countries.

They previously played two friendlies, with Germany winning 3-0 in 2004 and a 2-2 draw between the teams in 2006.

Germany beat Japan for much of Wednesday’s match with 24 attempts on goal compared to Japan’s 11. Japan only had 24% possession throughout the game.

“It’s brutally disappointing, not only for the players, but also for the coaching team,” Germany coach Hansi Flick said. “We deserved to be at the front, it was more than deserved. Then you have to say that Japan has taught us a lesson in efficiency.”

The match was played a day after Argentina’s 2–1 defeat to Saudi Arabia.

Before their match, German players covered their mouths during the team photo to protest against FIFA after her decision to stop planning to wear bracelets that were seen as a protest against discrimination in host country Qatar.

Nancy Faeser, Germany’s sports minister, attended the match at the Khalifa International Stadium and sat next to FIFA President Gianni Infantino as she wore the same “One Love” armband that FIFA had banned with threats of consequences.

It was only the third time that Germany had lost the opening game of the tournament after defeats to Algeria in 1982 and Mexico in 2018. In Germany’s other World Cup openers, the team had won 13 games and drawn four.

Despite conceding the penalty for a fumble challenge on left-back David Raum, Japan’s goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda made a string of saves and was player of the game.

“We fought as a team,” said Gonda. “We have to make sure we never stop.”

Japan will next play against Costa Rica, while Germany will face Spain on Sunday.

Germany’s buildup has been accompanied by protests and political statements over Qatar’s human rights record and treatment of migrant workers and members of the LGBTQ community.

German midfielder Joshua Kimmich complained on Tuesday that he felt he could not fully enjoy playing at the tournament because of all the negative coverage.

Germany hoped to regain lost pride after their shock group stage exit as defending champions in 2018, while Japan is entering its seventh consecutive World Cup and aiming to reach the quarter-finals for the first time.


AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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