Japan celebrates victory during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Group E match against Germany at Khalifa International Stadium on November 23, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.
Brad Smith | Photos of ISI | Getty Images Sports | Getty Images
Japan stunned Germany with a late comeback in the first match of the World Cup when Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano scored goals to win 2-1 at Khalifa International Stadium.
Japan had never beaten their European rivals before, but they took advantage of the Germans’ mistakes and squandered the chance to secure a famous win in Group E’s first game.
Striker Thomas Müller said after the game: “It’s ridiculous that we’re here with a defeat. We played well for a long period of time, but the game is also marked by chances that you convert into goals.”
Japan had an early ‘goal’ from Daizen Maeda who was also ruled out for offside, but Hansi Flick’s team soon took the lead after goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda’s clumsy shot on David Raum gave them a penalty and Ilkay Gundogan scored from the penalty spot (33 ).
Germany thought they scored the second goal late in the first half, but Kai Havertz’s kick was also ruled out for offside.
The four-time World Cup winners continued to see chances come and go – Gundogan hit the post an hour later – before Japan used their lightning attack to score twice later.
Did you know?
- Germany has never lost a World Cup match, having led at half-time since 1978.
Four minutes after coming on as a substitute, Doane (75) turned home from close range after a Manuel Neuer save. Germany was then caught with the ball overhead, allowing Asano (83) to take the ball home at a sharp angle.
Ritsu Doan of Japan scores his first goal during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar Group E match against Germany at the Khalifa International Stadium on November 23, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.
Mark Atkins | Getty Images Sports | Getty Images
Each goal of the Japanese team was greeted with a bundle at the corner flag, and joyful celebrations were held throughout the day. “This is a big surprise. We saw the victory of Saudi Arabia over Argentina – Asian countries have reached the world standard,” said Japan national team coach Hajime Moriyasu.
Germany continues to be in poor form at the World Cup as they finished bottom of their group in the 2018 tournament.
How Japan won the famous victory
Japan started brightly and after seven minutes already scored the ball into the goal. Gündoğan lost the ball in midfield before Junya Ito hit the right flank. Maeda then hit his cross but ended up in the offside yard.
Germany soon began to get back on their feet and had a number of chances after the 20-minute mark. Joshua Kimmich saw his effort from afar caught by Gonda before Gundogan rebounded on skis. The Manchester City midfielder then saw the kick go straight for Gonda before another attempt was well blocked a minute later.
Big moments in the game…
- 7th minute: Maeda’s early goal ruled out for offside.
- 32nd minute: Germany awarded a penalty after Gonda’s foul on Rauma scored by Gundogan.
- 45+3 min: Havertz’s goal also missed offside.
- 61st minute: Gundogan sees his shot hit the post.
- 75th minute: Doan equalized for Japan shortly after coming off the bench.
- 83rd minute: Asano scores the winning goal for Japan after a long overhead pass.
But despite all of Gonda’s good work in the first half hour, his careless goalkeeper then gave Germany a penalty as he ran towards Raum, knocking him over before catching the defender again and nearly landing on him.
After two previous shots were blocked, Gündoğan stepped forward and took a masterful penalty to see the four-time World Cup winners up front.
Germany then began to dominate and thought they had a second in the third minute of four added at the end of the first half. Havertz scored from a cross from Serge Gnabry, but after a VAR check, the goal was rightly ruled out for offside.
Japan could have made the end of the first half even more interesting, but Maeda’s header almost hit the target.
Takuma Asano of Japan scores his team’s second goal behind Manuel Neuer of Germany during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar Group E match at Khalifa International Stadium on November 23, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.
Dean Mukhtaropoulos | Getty Images Sports | Getty Images
It was a continuous start to the second half and Gündoğan had to add another one for an hour. The impressive Jamal Musiala drove down the left flank before setting up the linebacker from 15 yards. However, Gundogan’s shot shattered the bottom of the post and went wide. In the 70th minute, Gonda also quickly saved Jonas Hoffman and Gnabry.
But a return to Japan was on the horizon, and soon after Neuer made the first save of the game, denying Asano. He made another superb stop in preparation for Japan’s equalizer, receiving a hand from Takumi Minamino’s cut, but Doan hid inside the area to hit home from close range.
However, Neuer would like to achieve more for the Japan winner. A long pass down the right flank knocked out Asano from behind the defenders, and the striker hit the penalty area. He pinned Nico Schlotterbeck before squeezing the ball past the keeper into the far corner.
It was a frenzied end to the game as Germany looked to level the score. Leon Goretzka volleyed wide of the post as Neuer came in to secure another body in the area, but this proved ineffective. Each clearance was marked as a goal to Japan’s bench as they held on to a vital three.
Before the start of the game, the German players covered their mouths in a photo of their team in a clear protest against freedom of speech.
This came after a number of European football associations were threatened with FIFA sanctions if they wore the OneLove armband during the World Cup.
The DFB later tweeted about the gesture, saying: “With our captaincy, we wanted to set an example of the values we live by in the national team: diversity and mutual respect.
“Speak with other nations. This is not a political message: human rights are non-negotiable. This should be taken for granted. But, unfortunately, this is still not the case. That is why this message is so important to us. from the bandage – it’s like shutting our mouths. Our stand is up.”
Federal Minister of the Interior and Society of Germany Nancy Phizer also wore the OneLove armband at a match after being threatened with sporting sanctions by FIFA for wearing the armband.
Flick and Neuer admit we’re under pressure
Manager from Germany Hansi Flick:
“With this defeat and zero points, we are under pressure, there is no doubt about that. We can only blame ourselves. It’s a big disappointment.”
“We were on the right track in the first half, we had 78% possession and we were 1-0 up. Then we had good chances in the second half that we didn’t take advantage of.
“Japan was just more efficient today. We made mistakes that we should never make, especially at the World Cup, and that’s what we need to fix.”
Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer:
“I am completely upset and angry that we missed this game, it was not necessary. After the break, we didn’t have that flow anymore and we didn’t play with the confidence we had in the first half.
“Now we are under pressure from the very beginning. It was also the most important game in how you start the tournament, but we ruined everything.”
Japan head coach Hajime Moriyasu:
“We wanted to start playing aggressively, we wanted to dominate the game. But Germany is very strong, so we had to defend hard and use our chances.
“Eventually they came at us with all their might, in the past we might have lost, but the players playing in Germany and Europe have learned a lot, so we held on.
“United as one, we had to hold on until the final whistle blew and we were unable to take our opportunity.”
Experts: “big shock”
Gary Neville of Sky Sports on ITV:
“Of course I expected Germany to win this game. This is a big shock. Japan isn’t a sucker, but it just goes to show that when you’re not quite into it, you get a big surprise. What surprised me about the second goal was that Manuel Neuer turned around to let the ball go past him.
“Usually Neuer performs well and is a brilliant goalkeeper. The result will shock the entire tournament.”
Graeme Souness of Sky Sports on ITV:
“This is an all-powerful blow. When you’re a coach, and if you’re a Spanish manager, the result partially filled his conversations about the team. [against Costa Rica]. He will remind them that they may stumble tonight if they fail.”
Roy Keane from Sky Sports on ITV:
“Of course the result didn’t come out of nowhere, but when you play Germany – we talked about how they learn from past mistakes from the last World Cup – you lose 1-0.
“It was a long time ago, and therefore [Japan] the manager deserves great respect. He had to make these changes and it was part of his game plan as he had to freshen everything up.
“They were clinical. There were questions about Neuer in the second goal, but you can’t be jealous of their victory.
“There was never any doubt that they would bring spirit, combat and energy to the party, but they showed intelligence and great skill.
“Often you see substitutes who can’t pick up speed in a game, but they all made an impact on their teammates. All of them influenced the game.
“They raised their country.”
What does result mean?
After the first two games in Group E, Germany are in third place after Spain beat Costa Rica 7-0. later Wednesday. Japan is in second place behind the 2010 winners.
Both teams will play again on Saturday when Germany play Spain, which was seen as a fight for first and second place in the group, but now Germany could be on the verge of relegation if they lose, and Japan will play Costa Rica.
In the final group games on Thursday, December 1, Germany will play Costa Rica and Spain will play Japan, who are looking to deliver another blow to one of Europe’s most successful teams.
Opta Stats – Japan’s Historic Victory
- Japan came from behind to win a World Cup match for the first time, drawing two and losing 11 of their 13 matches as they fell behind until today.
- Having lost their first game in just one of their first 18 World Cup tournaments (W13 D4), Germany have lost their first game in each of their last two World Cups.
- Thanks to Ritz Doane and Takuma Asano, Japan became the first team to score two substitutions in the same World Cup game against Germany.
- Since 1966, only Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi in 2006 (10 against Brazil) has made more saves in a single World Cup match for Japan than Shuichi Gonda have made eight today.
Man of the Match – Jamal Musiala
He may have been on the losing team, but Germany’s Musiala lit up the Khalifa International Stadium. He has shown superb performance throughout the tournament, especially in the second half, and is set to make his breakthrough in the tournament in Qatar.