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Japan pulled off a stunning surprise win over Germany as two late goals secured Samurai Blue’s first-ever victory against the world champions.

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For Germany, they have now lost the opening game of the group stage in two World Cup tournaments in a row and thus did not reach the round of 16 in 2018.

Hansi Flick’s side took the lead from Ilkay Gundogan’s penalty in the first half and had chances to double their lead, but Japan stayed in touch and their substitutes had a big impact as both Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano scored to put Germany on stun.

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This was the first time since 1978 that Germany had lost a World Cup game by leading at halftime while Japan ended their Group E season with a flyer.

Next, Germany meets Spain in what is now a mighty duel, while Japan meets Costa Rica.


Substitute star as Samurai Blue, who makes a stunning comeback

Japanese coach Hajime Moriyasu brought in Mitoma, Doan, Minamino, Asano and Tomiyasu and they had an incredible impact on the game. It was like Japan knew if they could keep the game close, if they got these players off the bench they would have a chance to get something. Goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda made up for his mistake in the first half by giving away a penalty when he made several big stops in the second half and Germany’s poor finish gave Japan a chance to come back in the game. They made the best of Germany’s defensive mistakes and pressed so high early and late that Germany just couldn’t stand the pressure that Japan was putting on them. This is one of the biggest victories in Japan’s World Cup history, if not the biggest.


stars of the show

Jamal Musiala: Silky on the ball, creating chances galore and beating five players on a labyrinthine run but shooting wide. What a talent the 19-year-old is.

Wataru Endo: Brilliant in midfield and quick in tackles to throw Gündogan and Kimmich out of step.


like watching Germany vs Japan Live, stream link and start time

kicking off: 8 p.m. ET, Wednesday, November 23
Stadion: International Khalifa Stadium, Al Rayyan
TV channels in Español: Telemundo
stream in Spanish: peacock (all 64 games)


Major storylines, players to watch closely

Which Germany is showing up for the tournament, the dynamic but open one that won 5-2 against Italy and drew England 3-3? Or will it be the team that drew four straight Nations League games 1-1? In any case, Germany’s only clean sheet came in 2022 against Israel and Oman.

Japan’s friendly defeat by Canada can be seen as a blip, but Germany are obviously up a notch. Can the Samurai Blue get decent center forward play from a four-man side who have scored 11 goals in a total of 60 internationals? Takuma Asano, 28, has seven of those goals and 37 of those caps, but watch out for Shuto Machino. The 23-year-old has scored three goals in his first four internationals, two against Hong Kong and another against South Korea? Could he be one of this tournament’s breakout players? He’s a wildcard bet along with teammates Takefuso Kubo, Karou Mitoma, and Ritsu Doan.


Germany quick facts

Current FIFA World Ranking: 11
World Titles: 4 (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014)
World Cup participations: 20
How they qualified: Automatically qualified by UEFA (1st place)
Trainer: Hansi Flick
Key players: Manuel Neuer, Antonio Ruediger, Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka

Japan quick facts

Current FIFA World Ranking: 24th
World title: 0
World Cup participations: 7th
How They Qualified: Automatically qualified by AFC
Trainer: Hajime Moriyasu
Main Actors: Maya Yoshida, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Takumi Minamino, Daichi Kamada



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