This match was decided by the samurai - Gazeta Kommersant No. 218 (7419) dated 11/24/2022

The first match in Group E marked the second major sensation of this World Cup. Following the star Argentines, who on Tuesday lost to the team of Saudi Arabia, the German national team failed, losing to the Japanese. Moreover, the scenarios of these meetings turned out to be the same: having scored a goal from the penalty spot in the first half, one of the favorites of the current tournament conceded twice after the break. Thus, the four-time world champions who did not leave the group four years ago in Russia risk repeating this result.

Assessing the chances of the World Cup favorites in their first matches is a seductive and dubious occupation at the same time. Just because during the month that the tournament is held, almost any of its participants can noticeably degrade and add a lot.

However, the balance of power in Group E is such that after the opening meeting there is reason to believe that the German national team may face the same disaster that happened to it at the World Cup in Russia, where it did not reach the playoffs.

Although after the first half of the match with the Japanese it might seem that, on the contrary, the Germans flew to Qatar for medals, but the combination of youth and experience that their head coach Hansi Flick currently has looks optimal.

Before the break, the German national team looked moderately fast, fairly accurate and tactically consistent - at least to the extent that they could secure the desired result. The pressure on the gates of the Japanese team increased gradually but steadily. First, Antonio Rüdiger shot close to the post after a corner kick. Josua Kimmich then fired powerfully from outside the box, but goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda deflected the threat. Together, the Japanese repulsed another powerful attack, which Ilkay Gundogan tried to complete. But half an hour after the start of the match, Gonda had to knock down the German defender David Raum in his penalty area, who showed increased activity on the left flank, and Gundogan opened the scoring with a tight shot from the penalty spot.

In the second half, everything seemed to continue in the same spirit. A good chance to double the German advantage was missed by Serge Gnabry, who shot above the gate from an advantageous position. Once, 19-year-old Jamal Musiala, who, apparently, burned out and was seen relatively little, entered the strike position. In the 60th minute, Gundogan entered the penalty area, shot into the near corner and hit the post.

Half an hour before the end of the match, it was impossible to imagine that the Japanese head coach Hajime Moriyasu was able to completely turn the game around with his substitutions.

There was no question of this when Gonda, during one German attack, had to hit the ball four times in a row. By that time, the head coach of the Germans Hansi Flick, in turn, had already replaced the tired veteran Thomas Muller and Gundogan. And suddenly the Japanese sharply added, unexpectedly discouraging rivals who lost their chances. At first, Junya Ito and Hiroki Sakai almost excelled. And then the goal was organized by two substitute players - Takumi Minamino, whose cross was interrupted by goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, and recognized at the end of the match by his best player, Ritsu Doan from the German Freiburg, who played almost like hockey on finishing. But that was not all, because just eight minutes later, the Germans, who had not recovered from this knockdown, missed a quick counterattack, at the forefront of which was another hero from the Bundesliga and the Japanese reserve - Bochum striker Takuma Asano. It was he who used the slowness of the almost two-meter Niklas Süle, because of which the German defense failed to create an artificial offside position.

Wards flick tried to recoup until the last moments. In stoppage time, Neuer, knowing he had nothing to lose, spent a couple of minutes in the opponent's half of the field, trying to help outfield players with corners. But all his efforts were in vain. The Japanese have won the biggest victory in the history of their participation in the world championships, and the German team is now in danger of repeating its four-year-old failure in Russia.

Evgeny Fedyakov

First tour

Germany-Japan 1:2

Gundogan, 33 (pen.) - Doan, 75; Asano, 83

November 23rd. Doha, Khalifa International Stadium, 42,608 spectators.

Match statistics

Germany Japan

Shots on goal 26 12

shots on target 9 4

Corner 6 6

Offsides 4 4

fouls 6 14

Warnings 0 0

% possession 74 26

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