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Talking points and reaction from Japan's World Cup win over Germany
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Matthew Hill
LiveScore
Japan recorded a stunning 2-1 victory over Germany
Japan recorded a stunning 2-1 victory over Germany

Germany became the latest footballing giant to suffer a surprise defeat at Qatar 2022 as Japan came from behind to snatch a dramatic 2-1 triumph. 

Second-half strikes from Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano cancelled out Ilkay Gundogan’s first-half penalty, sealing a result that puts Hansi Flick’s men in serious jeopardy. 

We assess the key talking points from a memorable encounter.

Making a statement

Before a ball was even kicked, Germany’s players ensured they would make global headlines by carrying out a powerful pre-match gesture.

In wake of FIFA’s announcement that any players wearing the OneLove armband — designed to promote diversity and inclusion — would be booked, the German starting XI responded by covering their mouths for the team photo.

In a statement on Twitter, the German football federation (DFB) explained: "Human rights are non-negotiable. That should be taken for granted, but it still isn't the case. That's why this message is so important to us."

Shaky defence

As four-time champions of the world, Germany traditionally know a thing or two about grinding out results — but this current crop look rather vulnerable at the back.

Fears held by some critics coming into the tournament over a shaky defence were proven to be accurate, as the Samurai Blue effortlessly carved out chance after chance in the second period.

The winning goal, coming via a simple ball over the top, was as straightforward a build-up as you are likely to see and will give Flick and his coaches cause for concern.

Underrated Japan

Since qualifying for their first World Cup in 1998, Japan boast a 50% record of making it out of the group — and they now stand a great chance of improving that impressive ratio further.

Considered by most to be nothing more than a stern test for Germany and Spain in Group E, Hajime Moriyasu’s men now know that victory over Costa Rica on Sunday gives them a huge chance of progression. 

Comfortable out of possession and tantalising on the counter-attack, this Japan side will now be wondering just how far their Qatar journey can span.

Shaky stopper

Though Manuel Neuer will go down as one of the greatest goalkeepers of his generation, he did not cover himself in glory in the Khalifa International Stadium.

Japan's first goal came from a cross he punched into the goalscorer's path, while he was beaten at his near post for Asano's winner — prompting some heavy criticism from former England defender Gary Neville.

Neville said: "What surprised me with the second goal was that Manuel Neuer turned his body to allow the ball to go past him. Usually, Neuer stands up strong and is a brilliant goalkeeper."

Gary Neville was not impressed by Manuel Neuer's performance in Germany's defeat to Japan
Gary Neville was not impressed by Manuel Neuer's performance in Germany's defeat to Japan

Keep it clean

For many fans, seeing their country down Germany against the odds would be cause for instant celebration — yet the Japanese contingent inside the ground had business to attend to first.

Supporters of the Blue Samurai have forged a reputation for cleaning up before departing and things were no different in the wake of their remarkable success. 

They will be hoping today's result means they have a few more stadiums to clean before heading home.

Group of death

If Japan do go on to progress, it will spell an unexpected early exit for one of the group’s two European powerhouses.

Before this afternoon’s contest, Spain and Germany were both among bookmakers' top five favourites to lift the trophy — rendering a potential group-stage exit for either side as disastrous.

Suddenly, what already looked a tasty Sunday evening meeting between the pair could now end up acting as a killer blow for the loser. 

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World CupJapanGermany
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