Germany vs Japan result: Asano scores sensational winner for the Samurai Blue


Japan shocked Germany 2-1 to leave the European giants staring down the barrel of a second successive group stage exit. Hansi Flick’s side began the game by protesting against FIFA’s decision to forbid the team from wearing the ‘OneLove’ armband.

Hajime Moriyasu’s side had a goal ruled out for offside early on, and Germany gradually began to assert themselves on play. Their wide triangles wove a web around the Japanese defence, and they were justifiably awarded a penalty after David Raum was fouled by Shuichi Gonda.

Ilkay Gundogan scored the penalty, and Germany later had a Kai Havertz goal disallowed.

However, Japan provided a startling second-half comeback, in part provoked by the introduction of Brighton’s Kaoru Mitoma on the hour.

Takumi Minamino cut a low cross from the byline and with Neuer only able to palm the ball out, Freiburg’s Ritsu Doan gleefully lashed home in the 77th minute.

Soon after, a long ball over the top was brilliantly taken down by Takuma Asano, who ran beyond Schlotterbeck before drilling home between Neuer and the near-post.

Leon Goretzka went close with a longshot late on, but it wasn’t enough to rescue a point for Germany.

Key moment of the match – Germany’s protest

Yes, this may have come before kick-off. But in the most political World Cup in recent memory, Germany made its iconic statement. The entire squad covered their mouths in their team photo in protest at FIFA forcing them to abandon their plan to wear the ‘OneLove’ armband, intended to convey a message of anti-discrimination.

The German FA (DFB) confirmed that the team came up with the idea.

Nancy Faeser, Germany’s Interior Minister, also wore the ‘OneLove’ armband in the stand, where she was seated alongside DFB president Bernd Neuendorf.

The German FA said in a statement: “With our captain’s armband, we wanted to set an example for values that we live in the national team: diversity and mutual respect. Be loud together with other nations. This is not about a political message: human rights are non-negotiable.

“That should go without saying. Unfortunately it still isn’t. That is why this message is so important to us. Banning us from the bandage is like banning our mouths. Our stance stands.”

Man of the match – Takuma Asano

For much of the match, it appeared that 19-year-old Jamal Musiala would take the plaudits. Stationed out wide early on, he impressed more in central areas, and appeared to be technically the best player on the pitch by far.

He almost scored a startling goal 50 minutes in, dancing round several Japan defenders with a shimmy, stepover, and fierce shot — which sailed over the crossbar. Asked to unpick a defence, he bore the load remarkably well.

But ultimately, Japan were the more clinical, and the difference between the sides was a real moment of quality from Asano, the 28-year-old VfL Bochum winger. The former Arsenal player held off Schlotterbeck beautifully, taking the ball right to the byline, before smashing a shot over Neuer.

Key statistic 

Germany completed 422 passes before half-time, a new record at the World Cup — or at least since modern records began in 1966. Only 41 were unsuccessful.

What a turnaround occurred in the second-half. All that early dominance — for nothing.

Germany were unbeaten in the last 21 matches which they led at half-time — a run stretching back to 1978.

What does the result mean?

Trouble for Germany, who play Spain on Sunday night. Lose that, and they face elimination in the group stage for the second successive tournament.

A win for Japan over Costa Rica should see them into the knockout stages — which would be quite the surprise given the difficulty of their group.

What next?

Well, those two games! Germany play Spain in the northern stadium of Al-Bayt, while Japan play Costa Rica at 10.00am (GMT) on Sunday.

(Photo: Getty Images)


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