Japan came from behind to hand four-time world champion Germany a shocking 2-1 in the first game of World Cup 2022 Group E, with substitute Ritsu Doan netting the equalizer and Takuma Asano scoring the late winner. Both Doan and Asano play for German Bundesliga clubs Freiburg and Bochum respectively. The upset came after Saudi Arabia stunned South American giants Argentina with the same score line.
“I believe it’s a historic moment, a historic victory,” said Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu. “They’re fighting in a very strong, tough, prestigious league. They’ve. been building up their strength. In that context we believe that those divisions have been contributing to the development of Japanese players. I’m very grateful for that.”Japan has five Germany-based starters and three, including the scorers, on the bench.
Germany took control of the possession at the onset of the game until İlkay Gündoğan converted a penalty to score his first World Cup goal and open the lead for the Germans in the first half. In the second half, Germany was still in control. But, Hansi Flick’s side were stunned by Doan’s equalizer. With a few minutes left in the extra time, Asano scored Japan’s second goal, leading to celebration as they won their opening game.
Doan and Asano became the first two substitutes to have scored for an Asian team in a World Cup after scoring their countries’ winner in their World Cup debut, handing Germany their third tournament-opening game loss since their defeats against Algeria in 1982 and Mexico in 2018. “The individual mistakes that we made in the second half must not happen to us. We need to build up the players now. We won’t have a nice trip home.”
In the same group, Spain thrashed Costa Rica in their opening games, scoring 7 goals in the World Cup for the first time in their history. Dani Olmo opening the scoring just 11 minutes onto the pitch, with Marco Asensio adding second nine minutes later. Ferran Torres scored his first goal from the penalty spot on the half hour and scored his second in the 54th minute.
Gavi also scored in the second half, becoming the country’s youngest World Cup player at 18 years and 110 days., and the youngest to score since Brazil great Pele in 1958. It was followed by another goal Carlos Soler through a fine work from Nico Williams before Alvaro Morata netted the seventh in injury time. The 2010 world champions topped the on goal average. Japan face Costa Rica next, while the Germans will take on Spain to avoid back-to-back World Cup early exit.
Elsewhere, Morocco and Croatia settled for a goalless draw in Group F opener, while second-ranked Belgium survived a hard-fought game against Canada, with Michy Batshuayi scoring the only goal in the match. Roberto Martinez’s team top of Group F as they spoiled Canada’s first World Cup in 36 years.
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