Takuma Asano scored the winner to help Japan produce one of the comeback football results of the midweek action in the World Cup. Japan, who had never previously defeated a team from Europe, capitalised on German errors and missed opportunities to thrash Germany in Group E’s opening match. After Japan had an early ‘goal’ from Daizen Maeda disallowed for offside as well, Hansi Flick’s squad swiftly took the lead when a reckless challenge from goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda on David Raum resulted in a penalty and Ilkay Gundogan converted from the spot (33). Four minutes after replacing Neuer, Doan scored from close range after Neuer made a save. Germany was caught off guard by a ball over the top, allowing Asano (83), to steal the ball home from a tight angle.
Beginning strong, Japan kept the ball in the net for seven minutes. Before Junya Ito sprinted down the right flank, Gundogan wrestled the ball away from the midfielders. Maeda eventually slid his cross into the net, but he was a yard offside. Even though Gonda played well in the first 30 minutes, his clumsy goalkeeping cost Germany a penalty when he sprinted out to meet Raum, tripped him up, caught him again, and nearly fell on top of him. Gundogan stepped up and skillfully despatched his penalty kick to put the four-time World Cup champions ahead after having two earlier attempts blocked.
Asano was about to mount a comeback for Japan when Neuer made his first save of the contest. During the buildup to Japan’s equalizer, he made another outstanding stop, getting a hand on Takumi Minamino’s cut-back, but Doan was hiding inside the area and slid home from close range. Neuer would have preferred to perform better for the champion from Japan, though. Asano drove into the area after being found by a long ball over the top down the right side behind the defense.
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