Japan has qualified for the last five FIFA World Cups and won four Asian Championships. Syria has never been to the World Cup and never advanced past the first round of the Asian Championships. So it would suffice to say that the Syrians were content to still be level at 0-0 against Japan on Tuesday in the 17th minute, considering how big of an underdog they were.
And then this broke the early deadlock:
That's Syrian defender Hamdi Al Masri getting credited with an own goal after his own TEAMMATE, goalkeeper Ibrahim Alma, decides to clear away an incoming cross by punching it directly into Al Masri's face. The ball subsequently and beautifully ricochets off his face with technique that even a boxer could be proud of. An eerily similar sequence of events happened in February in the NHL when Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba had an own goal after a slap shot changed course off his face.
Let's slow it down one more time to fully appreciate the contortions on Al Masri's face in the split second before he realizes what is horribly happening to his team.
You have to feel for Syria, as the game only went downhill from there. But considering that Shinji Kagawa scored another two goals soon after and the final score was 5-0, it probably would not have made a big difference either way.