Germany final score against Japan: Another huge World Cup upset as Samurai Blue stuns Germans with late goals

For the second consecutive World Cup, Germany started their campaign in disastrous fashion, squandering a first-half lead to lose 2-1 to Spain. Suddenly, the 2014 champions faced the very realistic prospect of a second straight group stage exit, a self-inflicted crisis that was as much about disastrous defensive work as match-winning excellence by Takuma Asano.

Every metric would indicate Germany were a vastly superior team for the 75 minutes before Ritsu Doan sent Japan back to parity, but the feeling was of a bawdy team that lacked killer instinct on one side. and in cold blood on the other. Japan have shown both in abundance and while there is a lot of work to do to escape a group that includes Spain and Costa Rica, they are superbly placed to do so. Unlike Hansi Flick’s side, they don’t look like a side likely to give as many easy chances as their opponents.

Initially, Japan may not have seen much of the ball in the first half, but they showed impressive ball-chasing acumen. Daizen Maeda could have sent this game down a very different path in the seventh minute but, after some great work from the Japanese midfielder to pocket a loitering Ilkay Gundogan, the Celtic striker made his move too soon to overtake Neuer manual.

These half-openers showed up in Japan more than once during early trade, as did the ever-expanding periods of German possession. Thomas Muller and Joshua Kimmich would drift from flank to flank, taking the Japanese back line with them. Indeed, almost the whole team seemed to have been dragged down the right in the 31st minute, with a right kick Kimmich dropped the ball at the feet of David Raum. Shuici Gonda cut them short shortly after, the only major error in a resolute defensive display from this team, and Gundogan charged it from the penalty spot, although the second to arrive, the Japanese keeper did everything that could be asked to repay the debt with a magnificent double save from Serge Gnabry.

Kai Havertz could have wrapped up the game before the break but allowed himself to drift offside when he met Jamal Musiala’s cross/shot. This prodigality gave Japanese head coach Hajime Moriyasu a chance to turn the tables. He took it. Switching to a back three allowed the Blue Samurai to apply much more pressure down the flanks while retaining the energy they had shown in the first half. Moments after Manuel Neuer’s superb save denied the dangerous Yunya Ito and Hiroki Sakai guided over the rebound, the Germany captain could only deflect Takumi Minamino’s cross from Asano’s goal certainty to Doan , who provided it instead.

Japan’s winner started prosaically, a kind of nil in the channel turning into a hugely effective pass through Niklas Sule who stood two meters away from his German teammates, playing Asano alongside him. There was still plenty for the former Arsenal striker to do, killing a pass over 60 yards with one touch and easing the ball over Neuer from a tight angle.

Leon Goretzka fired inches wide in seven minutes of added time, but Germany looked just as likely to give Japan a third, redirecting the clumsy right-back Sule to the extreme with the ball at his feet. In a final desperate heave, the captain and goalkeeper came on for a barrage of set pieces in the dying seconds, but Gonda held on, fine more than done.

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