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Germany v Japan Live Commentary, 23/11/2022

FT
1 - 2
GER
JPN
İ. Gündoğan (33 pen)
R. Dōan (75)
T. Asano (83)
Khalifa International Stadium

Commentary

That's all from us, we hope you enjoyed that upset victory! The next one can't be too far away, and we'll see you then!
Well, what a way to kick off Group E! Germany sit at the bottom of the group following that defeat, while Japan are at the top with one win from one! Spain and Costa Rica are yet to play their corresponding fixture, but if the rest of the games are anything like this one, we're in for one hell of a treat, and a very competitive set of fixtures.
Asano's introduction was the beginning of Japan's turnaround, with the striker popping up to score an unlikely winner 83 minutes in. Coming on after 57 minutes, the VFL Bochum forward had five shots from inside the box, with the one he scored being his sole effort on target. He had just five touches in the box, but won possession three times, once in the final third, and also made a clearance to get Japan out of trouble. Impact.
What a game, and what a result that is for Japan! Germany had the better of the second half's early stages, and were unlucky not to add to their 1-0 lead. However, Japan manager Hajime Moriyasu made a raft of substitutions, which proved to be the game-changer for Japan. Mitoma, Minamino and Doan all combined for the first goal, scored by the latter, before Asano created something from nothing to smash home the winner as Japan turned the game around! Germany are beaten in their first game for the second successive World Cup, while Japan make the best possible start to their campaign in Qatar!
90' + 9' FULL-TIME: GERMANY 1-2 JAPAN.
90' + 8' Another Germany corner is swung in, but Gonda meets it with a thunderous punch clear, and the referee's whistle sounds!
90' + 8' BLOCKED!!! The free-kick is crossed in, but Yoshida's header takes it away from Neuer, and Sule's effort from the far post is deflected behind!
90' + 7' Germany gain a late free-kick, and the players are joined in the box by Germany goalkeeper Neuer, who is no stranger to coming forward for set-pieces!
90' + 5' WIDE!!!! Another Germany cross is headed away by Japan, and Goretzka meets the loose ball on the edge of the box before drilling a first-time shot inches wide of the post!
90' + 4' Germany claim a penalty of their own after Fullkrug goes down in the box, but replays show Yoshida got the ball so has no case to answer!
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. He looks to find Mitoma, but Schlotterbeck intercepts to save Germany further embarrassment!
90' + 1' We're into seven minutes of added time to close out this game, and with Germany behind, hold onto your hats!
Y. Moukoko
S. Gnabry
Germany
90' Germany throw the dice as they take Gnabry off in their final change, and 18-year-old Youssoufa Moukoko comes on to become Germany's youngest-ever player at a World Cup.
88' Japan want a penalty as Doan tries to turn Rudiger in the box after latching onto Asano's pass. He goes down under pressure, but the referee isn't swayed and calls play on!
87' Germany start peppering the Japan box with crosses, but Minamino is back there to head it away powerfully.
85' A Germany free-kick is curled into the box by Raum, but a good defensive header from Yoshida at the back post puts the ball behind for a corner.
K. Itakura
Assist
Japan
83' The ball from the back by Itakura looked innocent enough from a German point of view, but the touch, run and finish from Asano was anything but!
T. Asano
Goal
Japan
83' GOOOOOOAAAAALLLL!!!! Can you believe it???? Itakura's long ball from a free-kick in his own half is met by Asano, who beats Schlotterbeck with a beauty of a first touch. He darts into the box and smashes a shot from the tightest of angles, which beats Neuer and flies into the roof of the net!!! What a turnaround, what a story, and what a finish, to put Japan 2-1 up!!!
82' Four of Japan's 21 World Cup goals have come from substitutes, with two of their last four strikes in the competition coming from players who started the game on the bench.
80' OVER!!! 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!
N. Füllkrug
K. Havertz
Germany
79' Havertz is also brought off by Hansi Flick, with Niclas Fullkrug coming on to offer a new avenue up front for the last minutes here.
M. Götze
J. Musiala
Germany
79' Musiala comes off in Germany's latest change, and their current wonderkid is replaced by one of their young starlets from 2014, as winning goalscorer from the final, Mario Gotze, comes on.
77' Having reached the last 16 in 2018, Japan will be looking to make it to the knockout stages of the World Cup in back-to-back editions for the very first time, and grabbing another goal would certainly aid their chances in Qatar!
R. Dōan
Goal
Japan
75' GOOOOAAAALLLL!!!!! Japan have parity, and boy do they deserve it!!! 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, and the three Japan substitutes combine to put them back on level terms at 1-1!
T. Minamino
H. Sakai
Japan
74' Japan are really going for it now, as starting right-back Sakai comes off for another attacking option in Takumi Minamino.
73' SAVED!!! 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!
R. Dōan
A. Tanaka
Japan
71' Tanaka comes off next for Japan, and Ritsu Doan will replace the midfielder.
71' SAVED AGAIN!!! Raum crosses back in from the left, and Gnabry arrives late to head the ball goalwards. Gonda again keeps it out, and parries Gnabry's rebound from a tight angle behind again for another corner!
70' SAVED!!! 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!
69' The corner is arced towards the back post, where Itakura's header ricochets back to him. He's not expecting it though, and the loose ball rolls into the gloves of Neuer.
68' CHANCE!!! A beauty of a long pass finds Sakai bursting down the right flank, and he passes inside to Asano. He takes a touch before shooting, but Rudiger is again in the way to block the ball behind for a corner!
L. Goretzka
İ. Gündoğan
Germany
67' Gundogan is also replaced in midfield, with Leon Goretzka coming on for the game's sole goalscorer.
J. Hofmann
T. Müller
Germany
67' Germany make their first changes of the match, the first of which sees Muller withdrawn for Jonas Hofmann.
66' Asano receives a good ball and looks to turn away from Rudiger before shooting. He does so, but the effort is blocked behind by Rudiger, giving Japan a corner.
64' Asano knocks a loose ball beyond Rudiger down the right-hand touchline, but the pacy Real Madrid centre-back is able to keep up, and shepherds the ball behind for a goal kick.
63' This is Hansi Flick’s first major tournament as Germany manager. Jupp Derwall is the last manager to win a major tournament with Germany at the first attempt, doing so at EURO 1980.
61' WIDE!!! Mitoma races forward on the counter for Japan and feeds Asano to his left. He strikes a left-footed shot, but skews it wide of the far post!
60' Gundogan's wide pass to Gnabry is flashed across the face of goal, but Yoshida scythes it clear before Havertz can get there!
60' OFF THE POST!!! Germany keep the ball moving as Musiala again creates open space for himself. He lays off Gundogan, whose shot from the edge of the box strikes the base of Gonda's left post and goes behind!
58' WIDE!!! Mitoma links up with Ito down the right, and meets the cross back into the box. He gets there ahead of Rudiger, but can only put his header wide!
T. Asano
D. Maeda
Japan
57' Maeda is also withdrawn up front, with Takuma Asano replacing him.
K. Mitoma
Y. Nagatomo
Japan
57' Nagatomo comes off next for Japan, who make an attacking change in the form of Brighton's Kaoru Mitoma.
55' Raum finds space on the left and runs right into it, 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!
53' Aged 19 years and 270 days, Musiala is the youngest German player to appear at a World Cup since Karl-Heinz Schnellinger in 1958 - in total, only three German players have appeared at a younger age than Musiala. Prodigy.
51' OVER!! What a goal that would've been! Germany counter from the corner and Raum feeds Musiala in the box. He fleet-footedly beats half the Japan team on his own as he approaches the goal, but fires the eventual shot over the crossbar!
50' Schlotterbeck is pulled out of position by Ito, who cuts inside and goes down in the box under pressure from Kimmich. Kamada strikes the loose ball first-time, and a deflection sends the ball over for a Japanese corner!
49' Germany are unbeaten in their last 21 World Cup matches when leading at half-time, dating back to 21st June 1978 against Austria, when they lost 3-2 in Argentina.
47' WIDE!!! Germany race towards goal as Muller drives up the field. He finds Gnabry wide to his right, who blasts a powerful effort wide of the target!
46' Japan kick off the second half, and we're back underway in Al Rayyan!
T. Tomiyasu
T. Kubo
Japan
46' Kubo is withdrawn in Japan's only half-time change, and Arsenal full-back Takehiro Tomiyasu replaces him.
The teams return for the second half, with this game still far too close to call!
Gundogan's penalty is the difference at the break, and the Manchester City midfielder went close several times before slotting home his spot-kick. He's had three shots on target from five attempts, following 10 entries into the final third. He's completed 19 passes in the final third, as well as winning possession back for his side five times, once of which came in Japan's defensive third.
The first half ends, and what a half it's been! Germany almost suffered an early scare as Maeda tapped in after just eight minutes, but his offside position gave the 2014 champions a huge let-off. This spooked them into gear, and the remainder of the half was dominated by the Germans, who peppered the Japan goal before winning a 33rd-minute penalty. Gundogan slotted it home to put Die Nationalelf into a deserved lead. They almost doubled it before half-time, as Havertz finished off a great attacking move, but he was also caught in an offside position, meaning the lead is still just one goal at the break.
45' + 6' HALF-TIME: GERMANY 1-0 JAPAN.
45' + 6' WIDE!!! Japan go close in response, as Nagatomo's cross is met by Maeda in the box. His glancing header arcs towards the bottom corner, but skews wide of the post in a huge let-off for Germany!
45' + 5' NO GOAL!! Replays show that Havertz was indeed offside as he tapped the ball home, meaning the goal will not count and Japan avoid going two goals behind!
45' + 4' BALL IN THE NET!!! Germany think they've doubled their lead following a brilliant passage of play, but there looks to be an issue of offside as Havertz wheels away! Muller's cross from the right is headed away to Kimmich, who hits a low shot towards the bottom corner. Gonda sees it late and parries it away, but Gnabry drills the ball back across the face and Havertz taps it in! The goal is given initially, but no doubt we'll be going upstairs for a second look...
S. Gnabry
Assist
Germany
45' + 4' Assist Serge David Gnabry
45' + 2' Sule arrives in the box late and plays it wide to Muller. He drills a cross towards Musiala, but the teenager can't quite control the ball and Japan are able to clear.
45' + 1' We've become accustomed to plenty of injury time so far at this World Cup, but just the four minutes have been added onto this first half.
45' OVER!!! Musiala collects Kimmich's pass on the edge of the box and drops his shoulder to turn onto his right foot. He pulls the trigger from 17 yards, but fires his effort just over the crossbar!
44' Gnabry's cross to the far post is met by a Japan defender, but the Germany winger recovers the ball before linking up with Musiala. He shapes to shoot before firing the ball across the face, but the ball skews left beyond Raum's reach.
42' OVER!!! Germany fly forward at speed again as Musiala's square ball is met by Muller. He lays it off to Kimmich, but the Bayern Munich man can only send his shot over the crossbar!
40' Gundogan’s penalty was expertly dispatched, and that's no fluke either, as five last six goals for Germany have come via the penalty spot.
38' Gnabry flicks the ball inside to himself and lets fly from 25 yards, but his shot is blocked. Germany keep coming through, and after Muller's cross is headed away, Musiala dribbles into the box and shoots, but a deflection loops the ball into the air and Gonda punches clear!
36' Kubo glides over a wild challenge from Schlotterbeck and races into open space. He floats a cross into the box, but it's headed clear by Gundogan before Maeda can get there!
35' Ito finds space on the right again and frees up Sakai on a forward run. He crosses early with numbers in the box, but Raum blocks it behind for a Japan corner.
İ. Gündoğan
Penalty Goal
Germany
33' GOOOAAALLL!!! Germany lead!!! Gundogan finally has success in the box as he steps up to take the penalty, sends Gonda the wrong way, and slots the ball into the left-hand corner to put Germany 1-0 up! A needless penalty to concede from Japan's point of view, and after a bright start, the Samurai Blues trail!
31' PENALTY TO GERMANY!!! Sakai is caught well out of position as Kimmich floats the ball over the top of him, to Raum. The left-back cuts onto his right foot, but is taken down by Gonda, with Japan goalkeeper is penalised for his attempted tackle and the referee points to the spot!
29' BLOCKED!!! Gundogan finds Raum running down the left, and his cross from the byline is beaten away by Gonda. The loose ball falls to Gundogan, whose shot on the half-volley is blocked away by a flying Yoshida!
28' SAVED!!! Really good play from Germany as Gnabry dummies to Muller down the right. Gnabry runs in-field and gets the ball back before teeing up Gundogan, who shoots first-time into the gloves of Gonda!
26' Gnabry's cross from the right is headed away to Raum, who tees up Gundogan. He shoots from just inside the box, but Itakura gets in the way of it!
25' A quick VAR check looks at a potential handball against Endo in the box, but there's no clear connection between the Japan midfielder and the ball from Havertz's cut-back.
24' Japan have won only one of their last eight World Cup matches, coming in their opening match against Colombia in 2018.
22' From the corner, Tanaka's ball into the box is aimed towards the back post, where Itakura and Sakai get in each other's way and send the ball bobbling wide of the post.
21' Raum is dispossessed by Kubo in his own half, and the Samurai Blue winger sets off into space. He crosses early for Maeda, but Rudiger cuts the ball out and it goes behind for a corner!
20' SAVED!!! Raum's inside ball is flicked back by Gundogan for Musiala. He's tackled, but Kimmich smashes the loose ball goalwards, drawing a decent parry from Gonda before Gundogan fires the rebound over the bar!
19' Gnabry races and stretches to keep and aerial cross-field pass in the field of play, but Tanaka recovers the ball for Japan before being fouled by Havertz.
18' This is Germany’s 20th World Cup appearance, becoming only the second team, after Brazil, to reach the 20-participations mark in the tournament. The last time they didn’t participate in a World Cup edition was in 1950 – since then, they have progressed past the first round in every edition except for 2018, when they finished bottom of their group.
16' WIDE!!! After Havertz wins a Germany corner, the ball is floated to the back post by Kimmich. Rudiger rises and gets his head to it, sending his effort into the side netting!
14' Musiala strides down the left and plays a one-two with Raum. He lays the return ball off to Kimmich, whose shot from 20 yards is blocked by Endo!
12' Raum's cross from the left is met by a defensive header from Itakura, and Japan look to send Ito away on the counter once more, but Germany are able to recover possession.
10' This is Japan’s seventh consecutive World Cup appearance, a streak stretching back to 1998. It’s the second longest run of consecutive World Cup participations by an Asian nation behind South Korea's current run of qualifying for 10 straight tournaments.
8' BALL IN THE NET!!! Gundogan loses the ball in midfield and Japan flood forward. It's spread right to Ito down the right, whose pinpoint cross is slotted home by Maeda at the far post! The flag's up though, with Maeda a good yard offside, and replays show that he really didn't need to make his move so early!
7' Germany and Japan are meeting for the first time at a World Cup. Germany are unbeaten in their two previous encounters with Japan, both in friendly internationals in 2004 and 2006 respectively. All seven goals in their two previous encounters were scored in the second half.
5' After some good pressing from Maeda forces Rudiger back, Japan come straight back at Germany following the clearance. Ito darts down the right before attempting to cross from the touchline, and Gundogan blocks the ball behind for the game's first corner.
3' Germany have reached the semi-finals in four of their last five World Cups, the only exception being in 2018, when they were famously knocked out in the group stages by South Korea.
1' Havertz and Kimmich get this game started, and we're off and running in Group E of the Qatar World Cup!
The teams are out on the pitch in Al Rayyan, and following the national anthems, we'll be underway!
Japan’s top scorer in qualifying, Yuya Osako, is absent from the tournament through injury, so Celtic forward Daizen Maeda starts up front. Five of the Japanese XI play their club football in Germany, including captain Maya Yoshida, and forward Daichi Kamada, who has already scored 12 goals in just 22 games so far this season.
Ilkay Gundogan and Serge Gnabry top-scored in qualifying for Germany, netting five goals each, and both start in Die Mannschaft’s midfield against Japan. They’ll support Kai Havertz up front, with the Chelsea forward likely to play as a false nine.
JAPAN SUBS: Eiji Kawashima, Daniel Schmidt, Miki Yamane, Shogo Taniguchi, Gaku Shibasaki, Ritsu Doan, Kaoru Mitoma, Takumi Minamino, Hidemasa Morita, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Takuma Asano, Shuto Machino, Ayase Ueda, Yuki Soma, Hiroki Ito.
JAPAN (4-2-3-1): Shuichi Gonda; Hiroki Sakai, Ko Itakura, Maya Yoshida, Yuto Nagatomo; Ao Tanaka, Wataru Endo; Junya Ito, Daichi Kamada, Takefusa Kubo; Daizen Maeda.
GERMANY SUBS: Kevin Trapp, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, Matthias Ginter, Thilo Kehrer, Leon Goretzka, Niclas Fullkrug, Mario Gotze, Lukas Klostermann, Julian Brandt, Jonas Hoffman, Leroy Sane, Christian Gunter, Karim Adeyemi, Armel Bella-Kotchap, Youssoufa Moukoko.
GERMANY (4-2-3-1): Manuel Neuer; Niklas Sule, Antonio Rudiger, Nico Schlotterbeck, David Raum; Joshua Kimmich, Ilkay Gundogan; Serge Gnabry, Thomas Muller, Jamal Musiala; Kai Havertz.
While Germany were the first side – other than hosts Qatar – to qualify for the tournament, Japan’s route to the final was a rockier one, finishing second in their qualification group behind Saudi Arabia. The Arabian Falcons shocked the world by beating Argentina in their opening game of this tournament, and the Samurai Blues will be hoping for a similarly seismic result in their favour against Germany.
The 2014 champions get their 2022 World Cup campaign underway again Japan, hoping to avoid a repeat of their disastrous 2018 tournament, where they were dumped out in the group stage in a meek defence of their title.
Hello, and welcome to live coverage of this fixture from the 2022 FIFA World Cup, as Germany face Japan in Group E.