A stunning late comeback from Japan saw four-time winners Germany fall to a shock defeat in their opening World Cup game in Qatar on Wednesday.
Goals from substitutes Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano in the last 15 minutes gave Japan a stunning 2-1 upset over four-times champions Germany.
The Germans had dominated the contest at the Khalifa International Stadium and taken the lead with a 33rd-minute penalty from Ilkay Guendogan after Japan goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda had fouled wing-back David Raum.
Germany dominated a frenetic match for large spells but failed to capitalize on their pressure – before Japan caused the Khalifa International Stadium to erupt into a mix of mixed celebration and surprise.
The second goal never came, however, and Japan’s raids into the German half became more and more frequent, culminating in Doan’s equalizer and a brilliant finish from Asano squeezed eight minutes later.
There was a collective pause in the arena as the ball rolled down from the roof of the net before supporters realized it had gone in.
Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan had given Germany the lead from the penalty spot in the first half, before Japan substitute Ritsu Doan equalized in the 75th minute.
The equalizer came after a string of stunning saves at each end – Japan’s Shuichi Gonda pulling off a double stop to deny Serge Gnabry and Jonas Hofmann, before Germany’s Manuel Neuer got his fingertips to Junya Ito’s effort.
Germany, who finished bottom of their group in Russia in 2018, had missed several chances to extend their lead when the score was 1-0.
They face stiff opposition in Group E with 2010 winners Spain to come on Sunday, then a final group game against Costa Rica.
Before kick-off, Germany’s players put their hands over their mouths during a team photo and in the stands, a German government minister, Nancy Faeser, wore the OneLove armband.
It comes after news the German football federation is investigating whether it is legal for Fifa to threaten players with sanctions for wearing the OneLove armband in Qatar.
The Germany team later tweeted that human rights was “non-negotiable” and “we stand by our position”.