Japan surprised Germany 2-1 Globalism Cup opener on Wednesday, punishing the four-time champions for not taking their chances after they dominated the first half.
The German national team covered their mouths for a team photo before the match in a strong protest against FIFA’s decision to ban rainbow armbands.
Hansi Flick’s team came to Qatar under great pressure to avoid the catastrophe of 2018, when they failed to get out of the group stage in Russia as defending champions.
They took the lead through a first half penalty from Ilkay Gundogan and should have been out of sight after creating a bunch of chances.
But Japan held out and equalized through substitute Ritsu Doan in the 75th minute.
Then Takuma Asano completed an impressive conversion eight minutes later, volleying the ball into the net to dispatch the boisterous Japanese fans.
Germany’s future in the World Cup is now at stake, with Group E matches against Spain and Costa Rica.
Japan are eyeing a place in the knockout stages after a dramatic comeback barely looked possible at the end of the first half.
The Samurai Blue got off to a positive start, with Daisen Maeda slotting the ball into the net early in the eighth minute only for the referee to flag it as offside.
– German chances –
But it was a false dawn for Japan as Antonio Rudiger flicked the post off a corner kick, before Joshua Kimmich tested goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda, with Gundogan firing the rebound over the bar.
Gundogan peppered Japan’s goal with shots, with Gonda tipping him away before Maya Yoshida threw his body into the path of another attempt.
Gundogan put the Germans ahead after they were awarded a penalty when Gonda fouled David Raum, and he calmly slotted his kick into the middle.
Jamal Musiala gave a glimpse of his immense talent when he turned and fired a shot over the bar in the first half.
There was just enough time for Kai Havertz to put the ball into the net before half-time, but the VAR ruled it out for offside.
Musiala came back to torment Japan after halftime, cutting through the defense before exploding.
The 19-year-old then switched provider, placing the ball for Gundogan to attack the post.
Japan brought in their direct strikers Asano and Kaoru Mitoma to try and inject some energy into the four-time Asian champions.
But Germany kept up the pressure and only a series of last-ditch saves from Gonda prevented Japan from falling any further.
Hiroki Sakai had a golden opportunity to equalize but smashed over the bar after Manuel Neuer had a save sent into his path.
Doan showed him how it was done just minutes later, and he converted after Neuer cleared Takumi Minamino’s effort.
Asano then put the Japanese fans into dreamland, racing wide into the box before attacking home a shot Neuer was powerless to stop.
Germany pushed everyone forward in a desperate search for an equaliser, but it was too little as of late.
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