DOHA, Qatar (AP) – Another World Cup Today, another World Cup shock.
Substitutes Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano scored late on Wednesday as Japan came from behind to beat Germany 2-1.
Doan and Asano both play for German top-flight clubs.
“I think it’s a historic moment, a historic victory. Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu, who had five German players in his starting line-up and three players, including scorers, on the bench, said.
“They are fighting in a very strong, tough and prestigious league. They have built up their strength. In this context, we believe that these two divisions (Bundesliga and Second Division) have contributed to the development of Japanese players,” said Moriyasu. “I am so grateful for that.”
Ilkay Gundogan gave four-time champions Germany the lead with a first-half penalty. But Doan, who plays for Freiburg, slashed a rebound to equalize in the 76th minute after a shot from Takumi Minamino was parried by Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
Then Asano, playing for Bochum, sprinted away from Nico Schlotterbeek and beat Neuer from a tight angle in the 83rd minute of the first competitive meeting between the two nations.
They’ve played two friendlies before, with Germany winning 3-0 in 2004 before drawing 2-2 between the two teams in 2006.
Germany outscored Japan for most of Wednesday’s games with 24 attempts on goal compared to Japan’s 11. Japan only had 24% possession the entire match.
“It’s very disappointing, not only for the players, but also for the coaching staff,” said Germany coach Hansi Flick. “We deserved to be on top, it was more than deserved. Then you have to say Japan gave us a lesson in competence.”
The match took place one day after Argentina lost 2-1 to Saudi Arabia.
Before the match, Germany players covered their mouths during a team photo in protest against FIFA After its decision to halt plans to wear armbands that were seen as a protest against discrimination in host country Qatar.
Nancy Wesser, Germany’s sports minister, attended the match at Khalifa International Stadium and was seated next to FIFA President Gianni Infantino while wearing the same “One Love” armband that FIFA had banned due to its threats of consequences.
It was only the third time that Germany had lost its opening match of the tournament after defeats by Algeria in 1982 and Mexico in 2018. In Germany’s other World Cup opening matches, the team won 13 matches and drew four.
Despite missing the penalty for a clumsy challenge on left-back David Raum, Japan goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda made a series of saves and was man of the match.
“We fought as a team,” Gonda said. “We have to make sure we never stop.”
Japan will next play Costa Rica while Germany face Spain on Sunday.
The German rally was fraught with protests and political statements due to Qatar’s human rights record and its treatment of migrant workers and LGBT people.
Germany midfielder Joshua Kimmich complained Tuesday that he felt unable to fully enjoy himself They play in the tournament because of all the negative coverage.
Germany were hoping to regain their lost pride after their shock group-stage exit as defending champions in 2018, while Japan are appearing at their seventh consecutive World Cup and looking to reach the quarter-finals for the first time.
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