Doha, Qatar; Japan forward Takumi Minamino (10) takes a shot against Germany defender Antonio Rudiger (2) in the second half during a group stage match during the 2022 World Cup at Khalifa International Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports
Another day, another massive upset at the World Cup.
On Wednesday, it was Japans turn to flip footballs hierarchy on its head, as they secured a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over four-time world champions Germany. Late goals from substitutes Ritsu Dan and Takuma Asano were enough to overcome İlkay Gndoğans first-half penalty and give Japan a historic win over the Germans.
Japan will face Costa Rica in their next match, knowing a win will almost certainly put them into the last 16. Germany faces Spain next, knowing anything less than a win will likely send them home.
Gundogans first-half penalty boosted the Germans expected goals, but they also squandered a number of good chances early in the second half that could have put the game to bed. However, credit should go to Japan, as they grew into the game and created several great chances late, leading to their two late goals and victory.
The combative midfielder was at the heart of everything good about Japan today. Defensively, he led the team in pressures applied (52) and blocks (5), as well as applying 18 challenges to make life difficult for Germanys highly regarded midfield.
Despite having less of the ball, he looked to progress the play when given the opportunity, attempting six line-breaking passes and delivering one key pass to Junya Ito that forced Manuel Neuer into a great save in the 73rd minute.
Germany controlled the ball for most of the match and had 515 more passes than Japan (801 to 286). At the center of the action was Kimmich, who completed 87.6% of his 89 passes, including eight line-breaking passes and three key passes that led to a shot his teammate was unable to convert.
Japans right-back put in a solid defensive display. He led the team in challenges (19), was successful in over half (52.6%) and won five of the seven tackles he was involved in. He also contributed with one block and 27 applied pressures before being substituted for the more attack-minded Takumi Minamino in the 74th minute.
Manuel Neuer didnt face a shot on target until the 73rd minute, when he produced a world-class save to keep the score at 1-0. He was unable to pull off these heroics again, however, conceding from Japans other two shots on target, with Asanos goal considered saveable by our metrics.
Japan keeper Shichi Gonda conceded the penalty in the first half when he fouled German left-back David Raum. However, he put on a flawless performance after, saving every other shot on target he faced for an 87.5% save percentage. The highlight of his game came when he produced four saves in the space of 30 seconds in the 70th minute, three of which were shots from Serge Gnabry.
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