Germany Players Cover Their Mouths At World Cup In FIFA Protest
Qatar has been under scrutiny for its human rights record and laws criminalizing homosexuality.LEARN MORE
It was only the third time Germany had lost its tournament-opening game after defeats against Algeria in 1982 and Mexico in 2018.
Another World Cup day, another World Cup shock. Substitutes Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano scored late goals Wednesday as Japan came from behind to upset Germany 2-1.
Both Doan and Asano play for German top-division clubs.
“I believe it’s a historic moment, a historic victory. If I think about the development of Japanese soccer, thinking of players, for them this was a big surprise,” said Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu, who had five Germany-based players in his starting lineup and three, including the scorers, on the bench.
“They’re fighting in a very strong, tough, prestigious league. They’ve been building up their strength. In that context we believe that those divisions (Bundesliga and second division) have been contributing to the development of Japanese players,” Moriyasu said. “I’m very grateful for that.”
Ilkay Gündogan had given four-time champion Germany the lead with a first-half penalty. But Doan, who plays for Freiburg, pounced on a rebound to equalize in the 76th minute after Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer blocked a shot from Takumi Minamino.
Then Asano, who plays for Bochum, sprinted clear of Nico Schlotterbeck and beat Neuer from a narrow angle in the 83rd minute of the first competitive meeting between the two nations.
They played two friendlies before, with Germany winning 3-0 in 2004 before a 2-2 draw between the teams in 2006.
Germany outplayed Japan for much of Wednesday's match with 24 attempts on goal compared to Japan’s 11. Japan had just 24% possession for the whole game.
“It's brutally disappointing, not only for the players, but also the coaching team,” said Germany coach Hansi Flick. “We deserved to go in front, it was more than deserved. Then you have to say that Japan gave us a lesson in efficiency."
The match was played a day after Argentina's 2-1 upset loss to Saudi Arabia.
Before their game, Germany’s players covered their mouths during the team photo to protest against FIFA following its decision to stop plans to wear armbands that were seen as protesting discrimination in host nation Qatar.
Nancy Faeser, Germany’s sports minister, attended the match at the Khalifa International Stadium and was sitting beside FIFA president Gianni Infantino while wearing the same “One Love” armband that FIFA had outlawed with its threats of consequences.
It was only the third time Germany had lost its tournament-opening game after defeats against Algeria in 1982 and Mexico in 2018. In the other World Cup openers for Germany, the team had won 13 matches and drawn four.
Despite giving away the penalty for a clumsy challenge on left back David Raum, Japan goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda made a string of saves and was player of the game.
“We fought as a team,” Gonda said. “We have to make sure we never stop.”
Germany was hoping to restore lost pride after its shocking group-stage exit as defending champion in 2018, while Japan is appearing in its seventh straight World Cup and is looking to reach the quarterfinals for the first time.
Japan next plays Costa Rica, while Germany faces Spain on Sunday.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press.
The win sets up a must-see match between England and France in the FIFA World Cup quarterfinals in Qatar.By Frank Augstein / AP
The only store currently selling liquor in Qatar operates on an appointment system.By Petr Josek / AP
The last time the men's team advanced past the knockout round – was when Team USA beat Mexico – way back in 2002.By Newsy
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. will remain a friend of Israel even as it pursues goals that Prime Minister Netanyahu has opposed.By Carolyn Kaster / AP
China is easing some of the world’s most stringent anti-COVID controls and authorities say new variants are weaker.By Andy Wong / AP
The economy is changing and manufacturing jobs are on the rise.By Yuri Kageyama / AP