DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Another World Cup Another World Cup shock day.
Substitutes Ritsu Tone and Takuma Asano scored late goals to give Japan a 2-1 win over Germany on Wednesday.
Dohn and Asano both play for German clubs.
“I believe it’s a historic moment, a historic victory. If I think about the development of Japanese soccer, if I think about the players, it was a big surprise for them,” said Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu, who included five German players in his starting line-up and goalscorers. Three people were on the bench including
“They are fighting in a very strong, tough, prestigious league. They have developed their strengths. In that context, we believe that those divisions (Bundesliga and the second division) are contributing to the development of Japanese players,” Moriyasu said. “I am very grateful for that.”
Ilkay Gündogan gave four-time champions Germany the lead in the first half with a penalty. But Don, who plays for Freiburg, came back to equalize in the 76th minute after Takumi Minamino’s shot was saved by Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
Asano, then playing for Bochum, sprinted past Nico Schlotterbeck and beat Neuer from a narrow angle in the 83rd minute of the first competitive meeting between the two countries.
The match came a day after Argentina lost 2-1 to Saudi Arabia.
Ahead of Wednesday’s game, Germany’s players have condemned FIFA for covering their mouths during a team photo. Following its decision to end the veiling program in protest against discrimination in host country Qatar.
Germany’s sports minister Nancy Fasser attended the match at the Khalifa International Stadium and sat next to FIFA president Gianni Infantino, wearing the same “One Love” armband.
It was the third time that Germany had lost their tournament opener after defeats against Algeria in 1982 and Mexico in 2018. In other World Cup openers for Germany, the team won 13 matches and drew 4.
Germany outscored Japan on 24 goal attempts compared to Japan’s 11. Despite being awarded a penalty for a clumsy challenge on David Rum on the left, Japan goalkeeper Shuichi Konda was man of the match with a flurry of saves.
“We fought as a team,” Konda said. “We have to make sure we never stop.”
Japan next face Costa Rica, while Germany take on Spain.
Germany’s formation was rife with protests and political statements over Qatar’s human rights record and treatment of migrant workers and members of the LGBTQ community.
Germany are playing at the World Cup for the first time since their shock group-stage exit as defending champions in 2018, while Japan are looking to make their seventh consecutive World Cup appearance and reach the quarter-finals for the first time.
AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
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