DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Another World Cup Another World Cup shock day.
Substitutes Ritsu Tone and Takuma Asano scored late goals on Wednesday as Japan beat Germany 2-1.
Dohn and Asano both play for German top-division clubs.
“I believe it’s a historic moment, a historic victory. If I think about the development of Japanese soccer, if I think about the players, it was a big surprise for them,” said Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu, who included five German players in his starting line-up and goalscorers. Three people were on the bench including
“They are fighting in a very strong, tough, prestigious league. They have developed their strengths. In that context, we believe that those divisions (Bundesliga and the second division) are contributing to the development of Japanese players,” Moriyasu said. “I am very grateful for that.”
Ilkay Gündogan gave four-time champions Germany the lead in the first half with a penalty. But Don, who plays for Freiburg, came back to equalize in the 76th minute after Takumi Minamino’s shot was saved by German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
Asano, then playing for Bochum, sprinted past Nico Schlotterbeck and beat Neuer from a narrow angle in the 83rd minute of the first competitive meeting between the two countries.
They have played two friendlies before, with Germany winning 3-0 in 2004 before a 2-2 draw between the teams in 2006.
Germany outscored Japan with 24 goal attempts for most of Wednesday’s game, compared to Japan’s 11. Japan held just 24% possession the entire game.
“It’s a terrible disappointment not only for the players but also for the coaching staff,” Germany coach Hansi Flick said. “We deserved to go ahead and it was more than deserved. So you have to say that Japan gave us a lesson in skill.
The match came a day after Argentina lost 2-1 to Saudi Arabia.
Before their match, Germany’s players covered their mouths during a team photo against FIFA Following its decision to end a program to wear headscarves to protest discrimination in host country Qatar.
Germany’s sports minister Nancy Fasser attended the match at the Khalifa International Stadium and sat next to FIFA president Gianni Infantino, wearing the same “One Love” armband.
It was the third time that Germany had lost their tournament opener after defeats against Algeria in 1982 and Mexico in 2018. In other World Cup openers for Germany, the team won 13 matches and drew 4.
Despite being awarded a penalty for a clumsy challenge on left-back David Ramm, Japan goalkeeper Shuichi Konda continued to make several saves and was man of the match.
“We fought as a team,” Konda said. “We have to make sure we never stop.”
Japan next face Costa Rica, while Germany take on Spain.
Germany’s formation was rife with protests and political statements over Qatar’s human rights record and treatment of migrant workers and members of the LGBTQ community.
Germany midfielder Joshua Kimmich complained that he could not fully enjoy himself on Tuesday. I play the tournament because of all the negative coverage.
Germany were hoping to regain lost glory after a shock group-stage exit as defending champions in 2018, while Japan were looking to make their seventh consecutive World Cup appearance and reach the quarter-finals for the first time.
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