Second-half goals from Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano cancelled out Ilkay Gundogan's penalty in the first half, securing a result that puts Hansi Flick's men in serious trouble.
Germany became the latest footballing giant to suffer a shock defeat in Qatar 2022, as Japan came from behind to win 2-1. Second-half goals from Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano cancelled out Ilkay Gundogan’s penalty in the first half, securing a result that puts Hansi Flick’s men in serious trouble. Much like the match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia, the Germans were the runaway favourites to win the fixture but it was just not meant to be. One of the main points of concern for Hansi Flick will be the finishing as Die Mannschaft seemed toothless when they got the ball in the final third. Here are some of the talking points from the match.
Germany has a history of grinding out results as four-time world champions, but this current crop appears to be vulnerable at the back. Some critics’ concerns about a shaky defence before the tournament were confirmed, as the Samurai Blue effortlessly carved out chance after chance in the second period. The winning goal, which came from a simple ball over the top, was as simple as it gets and will give Flick and his coaches cause for concern.
Japan has a 50% record of making it out of their group since qualifying for their first World Cup in 1998, and they now have a great chance of improving that impressive ratio even further. Most people thought Japan would be nothing more than a stern test for Germany and Spain in Group E, but Hajime Moriyasu’s men now know that a win over Costa Rica on Sunday gives them a great chance of progressing. This Japan side will be wondering how far their Qatar journey can stretch now that they are comfortable out of possession and tantalising on the counter-attack.
Though Manuel Neuer will be remembered as one of the best goalkeepers of his generation, he did not shine in the Khalifa International Stadium. Japan’s first goal came from a cross he punched into the path of the goalscorer, and he was beaten at his near post for Asano’s winner, prompting harsh criticism from fans and pundits, including former England defender Gary Neville. “What surprised me with the second goal was that Manuel Neuer turned his body to allow the ball to go past him. Usually, Neuer stands up strong and is a brilliant goalkeeper,” Neville commented.