The game: 2-1
Thunderbolt in Doha. After a game frankly dominated by the Germans, Japan reversed the trend to win (2-1) and temporarily take first place in group E.
However, the scenario of the first period suggested a very complicated afternoon for the Japanese. From the start, Thomas Müller and his teammates put a lot of pressure on their counterparts of the day. Despite an offside goal from Daizen Maeda (8e), Germany multiplied the relays between the lines and played their game in the first half. Symbol of their offensive presence: seven players were in the last Japanese third when Joshua Kimmich struck, well saved by Shuichi Gonda (20e).
It was also the Bayern midfielder who served his side David Raum, who erased Gonda who could not contain him regularly and conceded a penalty. Serene, Ilkay Gundogan took charge of transforming him (33e). Just before the break, Kai Havertz even thought of making the score worse, but the Chelsea player was also in an illegal position (45e+5). Germany returned to the locker room with more than 80% possession.
In the second half, Hajime Moriyasu’s men also turned their backs against the German waves that swept through their camp. On the hour mark, Ilkay Gündogan found the right amount. 10 minutes later, Shuichi Gonda made four consecutive parries to keep his team in the game (70e). But little by little, the Japanese worried the Germans who were going to concede the equalizer in the 73e minute, but Manuel Neuer’s steady hand deflected Junya Ito’s shot.
This free warning then materialized with a goal from Ritsu Doan (73e), came into play 4 minutes earlier (see below), enough to strike a blow on the head of Germany which never ceased to multiply the opportunities. 8 minutes later, Takuma Asano created a little more sensation by winning his duel on the shoulder against Nico Schlotterbeck, before deceiving Neuer at the near post.
For the Germans, the damage was done. The 7 minutes of additional time did not change anything, Thomas Müller and his team leave Doha with the defeat, and are already playing their future in the competition on Sunday, against Spain (8 p.m.).
The turning point: the entry into play of Ritsu Doan
He couldn’t ask for more. Came into play at the 70e minute to replace Ao Tanaka, Ritsu Doan began the turnaround of his team. On one of his first balls, he is perfectly placed in the area to take advantage of a badly repelled left side cross and score in force from the left under the bar.
The Germans shot 26 times on goal, for only one achievement.
Japan is provisionally first in Group E, pending the match between Spain and Costa Rica (5 p.m.).