Takuma Asano shocked Germany with a stunning goal to put Japan ahead in the World Cup opener.
At the start of the match, all that was talked about was the team photo Germany took, hands over mouth, protesting they couldn’t wear their OneLove captain’s armband. Roy Keane told ITV at half-time the Germans “could do more”, but welcomed the intention.
Germany took the lead after half an hour when Ilkay Gundogan converted a penalty. Japan goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda was caught in no-man’s land to commit the foul, before Manchester City man Gundogan showed German-style composure from 12 yards out.
𝐎𝐇. 𝐌𝐘. 𝐖𝐎𝐑𝐃.The touch 👌The finish 🚀Japan beats Germany thanks to Takuma Asano 😱 pic.twitter.com/9emat3vyB2November 23, 2022
Die Mannscaft could have had another too, when Kai Havertz was ruled offside as he sent the ball into the mist net. The Chelsea striker’s celebrations were muted as he seemed to know the goal had to be disallowed.
Japan found themselves in the game, bringing on Premier League stars Takehiro Tomiyasu and Kaoru Mitoma among others. Gonda made four saves in quick succession, while Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer had to make a wonderful save himself on a deflected shot.
The Japanese, however, equalized through Ritsu Doan, before Asano gave the Samarai Blue a surprising lead. Ally McCoist described the finish as “shocking” and “brilliant”.
Germany now faces an uphill battle to break out of their group. Spain await the second game, while memories of four years ago will be fresh in the minds of the nation. Die Mannschaft crashed out of Russia at the first hurdle in their title defense, winning only once in the competition.
Both Japanese strikers play their club football in Germany, although Asano had an unfortunate fate at Arsenal – but didn’t play a single Premier League game.