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Thursday, 24 November 2022

World Cup 2022 - Germany 1-2 Japan: Late Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano goals earn shock victory

Japan stunned Germany with a late comeback, winning 2-1 in the World Cup opener. Goals from Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano sealed the victory late.

World Cup 2022 - Germany 1-2 Japan
                                                          SOURCE: SKYSPORTS

Japan had never beaten their European opponents before this game, but they were able to capitalize on the Germans' mistakes and missed chances in order to secure a famous victory in their first game of Group E.

Striker Thomas Muller said after the game, "It's ludicrous that we're here with a loss. We played a good game for prolonged periods of time, but a game is also determined by the chances you convert into goals."

It took a while for the game to get going, with Japan having an early effort from Daizen Maeda ruled out for offside and the Germans taking the lead just before half-time when Hansi Flick's side were awarded a penalty (score: 1-0). Ilkay Gundogan made it 2-0 in the 53rd minute when he slotted home from the spot.

At the end of the first half, Germany thought they scored a second goal, but it was ruled out for offside.

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

After coming on as a substitute, Doan (75) scored from close range following a Manuel Neuer save. Germany was then caught out with a ball over the top and conceded after Asano (83) smuggled the ball home on a tight angle.

Japan took the lead early in this match and continued to dominate, winning with a 3-2 scoreline. With each goal, they were greeted by teammates who rushed over to celebrate with them. We can tell they were really glad because of their celebratory mood as they walked off after the final whistle. "It's a big surprise," said Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu. "We saw Saudi Arabia beating Argentina - the Asian teams are reaching the global standard."

Germany's inability to perform at the 2018 World Cup didn't get any better, as they finished bottom of their group in Russia.

Japan was in control of the ball from the start, scoring after seven minutes. Gundogan jumped to knock it down at midfield before Ito drove down the right flank. Maeda then received Ito's ball and scored, but he was offside by a yard.

Germany had some early opportunities in the second half but couldn't convert. In the 62nd minute, Joshua Kimmich shot from distance, but Gonda easily made the save before Gundogan's rebound went over the goal. Gundogan then tried his luck again and missed, and finally, he hit a great block to rebuff Germany's third and final chance.

But in the opening minute, Gonda was at fault when he raced out to meet Raum. The defender caught his foot and then almost landed on top of him.

After having two earlier unsuccesful attempts, Gundogan stepped up and expertly dispatched his spot-kick to see the four-time World Cup winners taking the lead.

For the opening 30 minutes, Gonda did well by stopping shots and playing a shot on net. However, he made a sloppy move when he tried to go for another save as Raum was heading in towards goal; he pushed him over before catching Raum with his leg for a second time and almost landing on top of him.

Gundogan stepped up and expertly dispatched his spot-kick, seeing Turkey ahead against Russia.

Germany went on the offensive and looked like they had a chance of scoring in the third minute of four added on at the end of the first half. Havertz slotted home after a Serge Gnabry cross, but after review by VAR, it was found that he was offside, causing the goal to be waved off.

Japan missed a great opportunity to extend their lead just before half-time, but luckily the score remained 1-0. Maeda directed a header wide of the goal just before half-time after receiving a great pass from Honda.

In the 57th minute, Gundogan had a golden opportunity to put his team ahead. He was given a brilliant pass from Musiala in the middle of the field, around 15 yards out, but he sent his effort wide of the post and it rebounded off the crossbar into the arms of Gonda. In the 70th minute, Musiala's brilliant work on the left created an opportunity for Hoffman, but then Gonda denied Gnabry on two occasions just minutes later.

But the Japan comeback was underway already. Neuer's first save of the game came a few minutes after Asano's chance, as he made it to a brilliantly judged cut-back from Takumi Minamino before diving across his line to safety. Doan, though, had been lurking inside the area and scored a simple close-range finish in the build-up to Japan's equaliser.

However, Neuer would have wanted to do better for Japan's winner. A long ball over the top found Asano in behind the defence, with the forward driving into the area. He held off Schlotterbeck and then squeezed the ball past the goalkeeper for a wonderful goal past the far post.

Japan held on to win the game with a 79th minute golazo from Takashi Inui. After this, Germany pushed for an equalizer and Leon Goretzka flashed a volley wide of the post as Manuel Neuer came up to provide more bodies in the box, but Japan defended well. Every clearance was celebrated like a goal by the Japan bench and they held on for the win.

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