Japan Stun Germany for Another Upset at Qatar 2022
Duro Ikhazuagbe in Doha
Japan made a stunning comeback to shock four-time champions Germany 2-1 in their 2022 World Cup Group E match at the Khalifa International Stadium here in Doha Wednesday afternoon.
After Saudi Arabia similarly came back from a Lionel Messi early goal to shock Argentina with a similar 2-1 result on Tuesday, the Asian giants who are ranked 13 spots below Germany at 24, meant business with every of their move.
Although Germany dominated the match for large spells, they however failed to capitalise on their pressure – before Japan caused the Khalifa International Stadium to erupt into a mix of celebration and surprise.
Substitute Takuma Asano squeezed in a thumping strike from a tight angle to make it 2-1 to Japan and ran over to the photographers in the corner of the stadium in sheer delight.
There was a collective pause in the arena as the ball rolled down from the roof of the net before supporters realised it had gone in.
Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan gave Germany the lead from the penalty spot in the first half, before Japan substitute Ritsu Doan equalised in the 75th minute.
The equaliser came after a string of stunning saves at each end – Japan’s Shuichi Gonda pulling off a double stop to deny Serge Gnabry and Jonas Hofmann, before Germany’s Manuel Neuer got his fingertips to Junya Ito’s effort.
Germany, who finished bottom of their group in Russia in 2018, had missed several chances to extend their lead when the score was 1-0.
They now face stiff opposition in Group E with 2010 winners Spain to come on Sunday, then a final group game against Costa Rica.