The 2022 FIFA World Cup has already seen some massive upsets, most notably the win from Saudi Arabia over Argentina on Tuesday. But on Wednesday, Japan stunned Germany thanks to a remarkable, valiant second-half performance, featuring goals from a pair of super substitutions, and a heroic effort from keeper Shuichi Gonda.
Germany took the lead in the 33rd minute when İlkay Gündoğan scored from the spot. The goal was well-deserved, as Germany had enjoyed the run of play during the first 30 minutes or so of the match. The penalty was awarded due to a challenge from Gonda on David Raum in the box
Just a little bit of a foul in the box pic.twitter.com/3FmznGFUdg— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 23, 2022
Gündoğan calmly stepped to the spot and buried his try, giving Germany the 1-0 lead:
GERMANY SCORES ITS FIRST GOAL OF THE 2022 FIFA WORLD CUP— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 23, 2022
Too easy for İlkay Gündoğan pic.twitter.com/ew1fDKQnLa
Germany almost had their second a few moments later, when Gündoğan took advantage of a late pass into the box, but the try off his right foot ricocheted off the post, and the Germans were forced to settle for a 1-0 lead at the break.
Things would change in the second half, however, beginning some some of the substitutions for Japan. They brought on forward Takuma Asano in the 57th minute, and later midfielder Ritsu Doan entered the game.
The moves would prove critical for Japan.
Moments after Doan entered the match, he delivered the equalizer.
Japan had been putting the pressure on, and had a brilliant chance to equalize in the 73rd minute when Junya Ito forced German keeper Manuel Neuer to make this save on a point-blank shot off Ito’s right foot:
NEUER WITH THE SAVE— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 23, 2022
How did Japan not score here?! pic.twitter.com/Cs5QAlkwDC
Moments later, German would concede:
Neuer turned aside a shot off the left foot of Takumi Minamino — another substitute for Japan — but Doan was the man on the spot, putting the rebound past the German keeper to knot the match at one.
Doan’s equalizer touched off a barrage of celebrations from the Japanese supporters:
These Japanese fan reactions are awesome pic.twitter.com/eLc2i2xOaR— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 23, 2022
But the issue was still to be decided, and while Germany kept mounting pressure, Japan would take the lead on a strong effort from Asano:
JAPAN TAKES THE LEAD— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 23, 2022
JAPAN TAKES THE LEAD
JAPAN TAKES THE LEAD pic.twitter.com/V5Jzmnc8cJ
The goal included an incredible bit of skill from Asano, who displays a masterful first touch on the long ball, and then fights off the defender before going upstairs against Neuer for the go-ahead goal:
Germany was never really able to present much of a threat in the closing minutes, and even with seven minutes of stoppage time, the equalizer never came. When the final whistle blew, more elation from Japan followed, as they celebrated the stunning result:
The upset puts Japan atop Group E for the moment, while they wait for the result of the match between Spain and Costa Rica that takes place later on Wednesday. These two teams return to the pitch on Sunday, with Germany taking on Spain, and Japan squaring off with Costa Rica.