Japan produced another upset at the Qatar 2022 World Cup today, beating Germany 2-1 at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha.
The Asians had to come from behind to claim the huge victory in the Group E opener after they were clearly second best in the first half.
Ilkay Gundogan opened the scoring for favourites Germany but two goals after the break from Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano completed the stunning turnaround for Japan.
Four-time world champions Germany were totally dominant in the first half and deservedly took the lead in the 33rd minute.
Ilkay Gundogan confidently converted from the spot after a penalty was awarded for a foul by Japan goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda.
Germany thought they were going into the break 2-0 up when Kai Havertz netted from close range in first-half added time, but VAR review showed he was clearly offside.
Japan, who had put up little resistance in the opening half, were a different team after the break, taking the game to their more illustrious opponents and causing them problems.
The Asians finally found the equaliser with 15 minutes left in regulation time, substitute Doan slotting home after Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer pushed a shot into his path.
Japan then went ahead to take the lead eight minutes later, former Arsenal forward Asano superbly controlling a long ball to hold off his marker and thrash home through Neuer’s near post from a tight angle.
Germany threw everything at it in the remaining seven minutes of normal time and another seven of stoppage time, with even Neuer joining the attack for set-pieces.
But Japan held on for another huge upset in Qatar, to follow Saudi Arabia’s massive victory over Argentina yesterday.
It is the first time Germany have lost a World Cup game in which they led at half-time since 1978 (2-3 vs Austria), having gone unbeaten in their previous 21 such matches before today.