Germany’s positive performance took a backseat after Japan’s incredible comeback.
In the greatest expectation for the debut of a team in this World Cup, Germany entered the field against Japan willing to reverse the embarrassment suffered in 2018 in Russia, with the early elimination in the group stage.
The Germans started this World Cup with Schlotterbeck chosen as the starting line-up in the centre-back, moving Sule to the right-back. Additionally, Gundogan stayed alongside Kimmich at centre. Thomas Muller and Musiala in the midfield trio and Kai Havertz at center forward.
On the other hand, Japan entered the field with the expectation of playing competitive matches against the favorites to qualify in the group, achieving draws against Germany and Spain and a victory against Costa Rica.
In Japan’s World Cup debut, Ko Itakura was positioned at the side and Yoshida at the back. Maeda came on as a center forward, being the option for speed thinking about counterattacks, in the 4-2-3-1 format.
The first minutes had a very organized Japan with two ball steals that generated dangerous transitions. The idea was to seek to reduce Kimmich’s influence from within.
However, in the first real chance to score, Germany were awarded a favorable penalty after Shuichi Gonda fouled David Ruam inside the penalty area. The bid started with great German triangulation. Ilkay Gundogan opened the scoring.
It is also worth mentioning the great performance of Musiala in the first half, with agility and quality to create moves in reduced spaces, escaping the opposing defense’s marking.
Seeking to defend better against the corridor created by Raum, Japan changed in the second half with Tomiyasu acting as third defender to release Sakai, creating a direct duel with Musiala.
Gradually, Japan transformed Germany’s offensive nullification into action dominance until they sought the equalizer with Ritsu Doan, in the 77th minute, after Neuer palmed the ball in from Takumi Minamino’s low cross.
The Japanese kept the 5-4-1 tactical formation without the ball, but the strategy was modified with Ito and Mitoma on the wings. Kamada, Doan, Minamino and Asano attacked the penalty area constantly and offered Germany several dangers.
Taking advantage of the momentum of the equalizing goal, Japan believed in the comeback and achieved a historic victory with Takuma Asano, running behind Schlotterbeck to beat goalkeeper Neuer, with little angle, in the penalty area.
Germany had an excellent performance in its debut in the World Cup with the control of possession, creation of good plays and many finalizations, but the tactical adjustment with the five-man line-up, the use of quality on the bench and the important defenses of Gonda, secured Japan’s victory.
With 422 completed passes before the break, Germany broke a World Cup record since 1966. However, the day was so negative for the Germans that Spain surpassed the record a few hours later.
With this defeat, Germany will have a decision against Spain next Sunday. Defeat in the second round will mean elimination from the World Cup.
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