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Welcome to our coverage of Germany vs Japan, the opening match of Group E!

Germany are looking to bounce back from their 2018 World Cup woes, where they were knocked out in the group stage. Japan are the underdogs in Group E, but will be hoping to cause trouble for footballing giants Germany and Spain.

There are a few surprises in Japan’s lineup, with no Takehiro Tomiyasu or Hidemasa Morita featuring. Germany’s side features a fluid attack of Kai Havertz, Serge Gnabry and Thomas Muller in attack.


‘2 – The 2014 World Champions have started quickly, immediately on the front foot. Expect this to be a similar theme throughout the match.

‘5 – Corner Japan. The right flank of Junya Ito and Hiroki Sakai combine well to finally create a rare foray forward.

8 – DISALLOWED GOAL JAPAN! It was nearly a special moment for the Asian side, but their joy is short-lived! They win possession off Ikay Gundogan in the middle of the park, and counter down the right flank. Ito whips a superb cross into the box, which Daizen Maeda finishes superbly. However, the Celtic striker mistimes his run, and is comfortably offside.

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’11 – Japan are now putting a strong fight in the middle of the park. Hajime Moriyasu’s men are incredibly dynamic and aggressive at the moment.

’14 – Jamal Musiala combines with David Raum down the left flank. The playmaker lays it off to Joshua Kimmich on the edge of the box, but his shot is blocked by Wataru Endo.

’16 – CLOSE! Havertz wins a corner for Germany. Kimmich floats his cross towards the back post, but Antonio Rudiger can only direct his header wide of the right post.

’18 – Germany have had 82% possession so far. They’re controlling the match, but are not being dynamic enough in the final two thirds.

’20 – BIG CHANCE! It’s very nearly 1-0 at the Khalifa International Stadium. Kimmich smashes a powerful shot towards the top corner, which is parried away by Shuichi Gonda. From the resulting rebound, Gundogan fires over the bar. The footballing giants are getting closer to the opening goal…

’24 – Die Mannschaft come close again as Havertz whips in a cross. There’s a check for a possible penalty for Germany from VAR, but play is waved on.

’28 – The Germans have another shot on goal through Gundogan, but it is easily saved by Gonda.

’29 – VERY CLOSE! It’s hard to believe that it is still 0-0 here. Raum whips in a powerful cross from the left, which Gonda parries clear. It falls directly to Gundogan, but the Japanese players are leaving everything on the pitch, and block it on the line by a flying Maya Yoshida.

’31 – PENALTY GERMANY! Raum latches onto a cross-field ball, and drives into the box. He attempts to deceive Gonda, but the goalkeeper trips up the wing-back in the process. He pleads his innocence, but it’s a straightforward decision for the referee.

’33 – GOAL GERMANY! Gundogan has had plenty of chances in this match, and he finally opens the scoring! He steps up for the penalty, and places it calmly down the middle of the net. It’s a deserved leader for the 2014 World Champions!

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’35 – Ito finds space on the right, and frees up Sakai. He crosses early, but Raum blocks it behind for a corner. From the resulting set-piece, Japan fail to create a clear chance.

’38 – Germany are attacking once again. Musiala dribbles superbly into the box and shoots, however his shot loops into the air after a deflection. Gonda punches it clear to safety.

’41 – Japan really need half-time to hurry up. They’re struggling to gain a foothold in the match, and are being comfortably controlled by the Germans.

’45 – There will be a minimum of four minutes added on at the end of the first half!

’45+4 – DISALLOWED GOAL GERMANY! The Germans think they’ve doubled their lead, but their joy ends quickly. Gonda parries away Kimmich’s shot directly towards Serge Gnabry. The winger drills the ball back into the box, which Havertz latches onto. The Chelsea striker taps it into an empty net, but he is fractionally offside.

HALF-TIME! 1-0! It’s been an impressive performance from the Europeans, who have controlled the match from start to finish. Moriyasu has a big job at half-time to motivate his players, otherwise the match could run away from the Asian country.

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’46 – SUBSTITUTE! The second half begins in Qatar. Germany are unchanged from the first half, whilst Japan make one change. Arsenal defender Takehiro Tomiyasu comes on for Takefusa Kubo.

’49 – The match is continuing a similar theme from the first half, with Germany controlling the match easily.

’50 – Corner Japan. Ito makes a dazzling dribble into the box. The winger falls to the ground, before Daichi Kamada takes a powerful shot towards Manuel Neuer which deflectes out for a corner. From the resulting set-piece, Germany clear easily.

’51 – CLOSE! There’s a reason Musiala is regarded as one of the best youngsters in the world, and he has just proved it there. The playmaker makes a sensational run into the box past several Japanese defenders, however he can only fire his shot miles over the bar.

’55 – Raum finds space on the left, before threading it through for Havertz to chase. Gonda comes out to collect, but can’t keep hold of the ball, and Musiala recovers the ball to cross before the offside flag goes up!

’57 – SUBSTITUTES! Japan make 2 changes, as Takuma Asano and Kaoru Mitoma come on for Daizen Maeda and Yuto Nagatomo retrospectively.

’60 – CLOSE! Germany keep the ball moving as Musiala again creates open space for himself. He lays it off for Gundogan, whose shot from the edge of the box strikes the base of Gonda’s left post and goes behind.

’61 – Japan now race forward to come close. Mitoma plays in Asano down the left flank, but he produces a poor shot which goes wide of the post.

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’64 – Asano knocks a ball beyond Rudiger down the right-hand flank, but the powerful Real Madrid centre-back is able to keep up, and shepherds the ball behind for a goal kick.

’67 – SUBSTITUTES! Die Mannschaft make two changes. Leon Goretzka and Jonas Hofmann replace Gundogan and Thomas Muller.

’68 – CHANCE! Sakai does brilliantly to find Asano in the box. He takes a touch before shouting, which allows Rudiger to keep up and block the shot for a corner which results in nothing.

’71 – CLOSE! A beautiful Germany move sees Kimmich chip the ball over the top of the defence. Gnabry takes the ball away from the keeper before teeing up Hofmann, but his first-time effort is saved by Gonda! Gnabry recovers the ball and shoots with his left, but once again Gonda is able to parry it away! This has been a superb performance from the Japanese goalkeeper.

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’72 – SUBSTITUTE! Ao Tanaka comes off next for Japan, and Ritsu Doan will replace the midfielder.

’73 – BIG CHANCE! Endo’s forward ball is brought down in the box by Ito, who smashes a low shot which Neuer claws out of the far corner! Sakai follows in, but can’t direct his volley goalwards on the rebound, and a glorious chance for Japan goes begging!

’74 – SUBSTITUTE! Takumi Minamino replaces Sakai for the Asian side.

’75 – GOAL JAPAN!!!!!!!! Incredible scenes in Qatar as Japan make it 1-1 against Germany! Mitoma drives forward before feeding Minamino, whose ball across the face is parried away by Neuer. Doan reacts quickest to smash the ball into the back of the net! The substitutes have completely changed the game for the Asian side, and the equaliser is thoroughly deserved!

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’79 – SUBSTITUTE! Mario Gotze and Niclas Füllkrug come on for Musiala and Havertz retrospectively.

’80 – Kimmich whips a corner into the box, and with Gonda in no-man’s land, Rudiger gets in front of him to head the ball over the crossbar.

’83 – GOAL JAPAN!!!!! Incredible scenes in Qatar! From nowhere, Moriyasu’s men have turned this game around! Ko Itakura’s long ball from a free-kick in his own half is met by Asano, who beats Nico Schlotterbeck with a beauty of a first touch. He darts into the box and smashes a shot from the tighest of angles, which beats Neuer and flies into the roof of the net! I don’t think anyone in the stadium can quite believe it!

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’85 – A Germany free-kick is curled into the box by Raum, but a good header from Yoshida at the back post puts the ball behind for a corner. The resulting set-piece is cleared easily by Japan.

’89 – SUBSTITUTE! Youssoufa Moukoko comes on to replace Gnabry. This is a last-gasp substitute from Hansi Flick.

’90 – There are seven additional minutes to be added on. The tension in the stadium is unbearable!

’90+3 – A loose Schlotterbeck pass gives Asano space to run into beyond Rudiger. He links up with Doan, who finds Endo running into the box, but Germany eventually clear the threat. Just 4 more minutes for Japan to hold on for!

’90+5 – CLOSE! Goretzka is so close to equalising for the footballing giant. Germany play direct football at the last gasp, which leads to the ball landing at the midfielder’s feet. However, his low driven shot goes inches wide of the post.

’90+7 – This is the last chance for Germany. They’ve got a free-kick and Neuer has gone up…It leads to a scramble in the box and behind for a corner! Japan are just about holding onto their win! From the corner, it is cleared by Yoshida and the Asian side have won!

FULL TIME! Japan have pulled off one of the greatest World Cup upsets and beaten Germany 2-1!

Player of the Match – Takuma Asano

He only came on in the 57th minute, but the striker made a sensational impact for Moriyasu’s side. It was a superb performance, which was capped off by his stunning goal late on to give his side the win!

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May 2024