[골닷컴] Reporter Kang Dong-hun = Japan has made ‘Giant Killing’. They achieved a come-from-behind victory against world-class powerhouse Germany. According to ‘Opta’, a sports statistics company, even before kick-off, Japan’s chance of winning was only 14.1%, but they broke everyone’s expectations and produced a ‘disaster’.
Japan dedicated the first goal to Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City), and he has been dragged around ever since. However, they did not concede any extra points while maintaining a solid defence, and the atmosphere changed with an equalizer from Doan Ritz (Freiburg), and soon, Takuma Asano (Bochum) turned the game around with consecutive goals.
Japan, who won that day, was the first to laugh in the group of death as it rose to first place in Group E (1 win, 3 points). The chances of progressing to the round of 16 are greater than before. On the other hand, Germany was in crisis when receiving an unexpected result. Japan will face Costa Rica on the 27th, and Germany will face Spain on the 28th.
Hajime Moriyasu (Japan), head coach, used a 4-2-3-1 formation. Daizen Maeda (Celtic) played as a one-top player. In the second line, Takefusa Kubo (Real Sociedad), Daichi Kamada (Frankfurt) and Junya Ito (Stade de Reims) were placed.
Ao Tanaka (Düsseldorf) and Wataru Endo (Stuttgart) kept their backs. Yuto Nagatomo (FC Tokyo), Maya Yoshida (Shalke 04), Go Itakura (Monchengladbach) and Hiroki Sakai (Urawa Reds) formed the defensive line. The goal was saved by Shuichi Gonda (Shimizu S-Pulse).
Against this, Germany also came out with a 4-2-3-1 formation. Kai Havertz (Chelsea) was in the lead. Jamal Musiala, Thomas Müller, and Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich) were in the second line and started shooting in support.
Gundogan and Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich) formed the midfield. David Raum (Leipzig), Nico Schlotterbeck, Niklas Sule (Bortmund) and Antonio Rudiger (Real Madrid) were the back four. The goalkeeper’s gloves were worn by Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich).
Japan defied expectations and maintained a tight balance from the start. Although they gave up the overall initiative, they did not back down easily by counter-attacking with a quick counter-attack while maintaining a solid defence. In the 8th minute of the first half, Ito’s early cross was connected in front of the goal, and Maeda split the net, but unfortunately it was declared offside.
After overcoming a crisis, Germany regained its momentum and slowly unraveled the game. In the 20th minute of the first half, Kimmich shot a second ball in front of the arc circle, but goalkeeper Gonda cleared it. In the 28th and 29th minutes of the first half, Gundogan hit two shots, but it did not lead to a goal.
Germany, who continued to drive, scored the first goal. In 31 minutes of the first half, Raum tripped over the hand of goalkeeper Gonda and was awarded a penalty, and Gundogan took the kicker and succeeded. The flow continued and he scored an extra goal. In the first half of extra time, Havertz pushed Gnabri’s ground pass. However, offside was declared.
Coach Hajime made a change at the start of the second half by excluding Kubo and replacing Takehiro Tomiyasu (Arsenal). In the 12th minute of the second half, Kaoru Mitoma (Brighton & Hove Albion) and Asano were brought on without Nagatomo and Maeda.
Even in the second half, Germany continued to attack unilaterally while maintaining possession. In the 15th minute of the second half, Gundogan’s low shot hit the post. Ten minutes later, Jonas Hofmann’s (Monchengladbach) shot was caught by goalkeeper Gonda, and Gnabry attempted three shots in a row, including a header, but all were blocked.
Japan held the exchange again. In the 29th minute of the second half, Tanaka and Sakai went out, and Doan and Minamino Takumi (Monaco) were put in. And the change struck. Japan turned the game around. In the 30th minute of the second half, Minamino’s cross was caught by goalkeeper Noi, but Doan pushed the second ball.
Coach Hanji Flick (Germany), who became desperate, threw a game. In the 34th minute of the second half, Niklas Fülkrug (Werder Bremen) and Mario Goetze (Freiburg) replaced Musiala and Havertz. But the goal came from the Japanese side. At the 38th minute of the second half, Asano endured the competition in the box until the end, and although there was no angle, he rebounded the net with a great shot. In the end, the game ended with Japan winning 2-1.