Late goals help Japan stun four-time winners Germany

Japan seal historic win in their opening match of the World Cup 2022, beating 2014 winners Germany.

Takuma Asano scored an 83rd-minute winner as Japan stunned four-time world champions Germany 2-1 in their opening match of the World Cup 2022.

Germany led through Ilkay Gundogan’s 33rd-minute penalty at Khalifa International Stadium on Wednesday.

Germany looked in total command in the Group E clash but, with each missed chance, left the door open for Japan, who showed almost nothing in attack until a series of substitutions injected some energy in the second half.

However, Japan hit back in quick succession, first through Ritsu Doan’s equaliser and then Asano’s late goal, to seal a historic win that came just a day after Saudi Arabia shocked Argentina.

With the loss, Germany, who were knocked out in the group stages in 2018 as reigning champions, must now fear a second straight early exit.

Japan go top of Group E which also features Spain and Costa Rica who meet later on Wednesday.

Germany are bottom for now. They lost their opener as in 2018 – 1-0 against Mexico – and went on to exit in the group stage as title holders.

Earlier, Germany’s players covered their mouths with their right hands when they lined up for the pre-game photo in a protest against FIFA prohibiting them from using a One Love armband.

“Denying us the armband is the same as denying us a voice. We stand by our position,” the team said in a statement following the protest.

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