Germany 1-2 Japan | Group E
Japan have provided the second major shock of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ with a stunning comeback win over Germany.
The four-time world champions took a first-half lead through Ilkay Gundogan’s coolly dispatched penalty and looked likely to add to their advantage early in the second half.
However, after a couple of near misses from Serge Gnabry and goalscorer Gundogan, and a stunning series of saves from Shuichi Gonda, Japan made their move.
The Samurai Blue became increasingly adventurous as the match wore on and, having threatened Manuel Neuer’s goal on more than one occasion, pulled level with 15 minutes remaining through substitute Ritsu Doan’s opportunistic close-range finish.
A shock then turned into a sensation eight minutes later when Takuma Asano burst through on the right, amid some less-than-impressive German defending, to blast a ferocious and, ultimately, historic shot into the roof of Neuer’s net.
The goalscorers may grab the headlines but if this famous victory is indebted to one man, it is Gonda. The Japan No1 produced not one, but three superb saves within an incredible spell of German attacking play during which his lightning-fast reflexes denied Jonas Hofmann and Gnabry – twice – seemingly certain goals.
Stat of the Match
This was the first time Japan have ever won a World Cup match after falling behind – and what opponents to do it against! Germany, for their part, lost at the global finals from a winning half-time position for the first time since going down 3-2 to Austria all the way back in 1978.