Germany's Stunning Upset Loss in Group Play to Japan Shocks 2022 Men's World Cup

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVNovember 23, 2022

Germany's defender #23 Nico Schlotterbeck (R) fights for the ball with Japan's forward #18 Takuma Asano during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Germany and Japan at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano scored late in the second half to lead Japan to a shocking 2-1 upset win over Germany in the Group E opener at the 2022 FIFA World Cup on Wednesday.

Ilkay Gündogan put the four-time World Cup champions ahead from the penalty spot in the first half. The German defense faltered inside the final 15 minutes, however, and the Samurai Blue took full advantage inside Qatar's Khalifa International Stadium.

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

UPSET ALERT 🚨 Japan stuns Germany in an instant classic 🇯🇵<br><br>Relive today's WILD game in our 90' in 90" highlights ⬇️ <a href="https://t.co/s9JDJMN9HI">pic.twitter.com/s9JDJMN9HI</a>

Here's a look at some social media reaction to the tournament's latest stunner:

B/R Football @brfootball

Germany's 2018 World Cup opener: L <br><br>Germany's 2022 World Cup opener: L <a href="https://t.co/JBovt7mNyG">pic.twitter.com/JBovt7mNyG</a>

Gigguk @GiggukAZ

JAPAN BEATING GERMANY WITH THE POWER OF GOD AND ANIME ON THEIR SIDE...WHAT WAS THAT?! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WorldCup2022?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WorldCup2022</a>

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

Fans back in Japan are HYPED after upsetting Germany! 🇯🇵😤🤩<br><br>(Via <a href="https://twitter.com/ss_1_kk?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ss_1_kk</a>) <a href="https://t.co/PybwXiK1V9">pic.twitter.com/PybwXiK1V9</a>

H e n r y @HenryM_Cj

First Argentina, now German? Ladies and gentlemen, this is Football🌹🔥❤️❤️<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GERJPN?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GERJPN</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FIFAWorldCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FIFAWorldCup</a> <a href="https://t.co/9txeYvIlM9">pic.twitter.com/9txeYvIlM9</a>

भारतीय गनर @abhiiitm

Another upset, this world cup already getting super fun to watch. What a performance Japan.

Dr. Kelechi Anyikude @KelechiAFC

Like Saudi Arabia, Like Japan. The World Cup is too lit 🔥 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GERJPN?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GERJPN</a>

Harold R. Kuntz @HaroldRKuntz3

Upset city in the World Cup. Germany about to bow out in the Group Stage again?

Gary Lineker 💙💛 @GaryLineker

Sugoi! Japan lead. Surely Germany don’t fall at the group stage 2 World Cups running.

Alicia de Artola Castillo @PenguinOfTroy

Stunning from Japan. Roundly outplayed in the first half. Defended their butts off. Took their chances when they got them in the second half. Upset Germany. Wow!

Ben Jacobs @JacobsBen

Japan's fans are truly the best.🇯🇵<br><br>They beat Germany in a famous win, but before celebrating stuck around at the Khalifa International Stadium to help clean up.👏 <a href="https://t.co/sZhNExEDqi">pic.twitter.com/sZhNExEDqi</a>

Germany joins Argentina as expected championship contenders to drop their opening match. Lionel Messi and Co. fell short against Saudi Arabia in similar fashion on Tuesday as the Green Falcons netted a pair of second-half goals to secure the upset.

Most of the numbers from Wednesday's match heavily favored the Germans, who held 74 percent of possession, a 25-11 advantage in shots attempted and a massive 751-214 edge in passes completed.

Their execution in the final third was lacking, however, and Japanese goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda was up to the task when called upon with seven saves.

Germany's inability to score a second goal—a tap-in by Kai Havertz late in the first half was taken off the scoreboard after VAR showed the play was clearly offside—left the door open for Japan.

Doan and Asano capitalized on a 10-minute stretch of lackluster, wide-open defending by Germany, who couldn't respond with an equalizer despite some late pressure.

Spain and Costa Rica will play later Wednesday to determine the full Group E standings after the first matchday.

Regardless of that result, Germany is going to face a lot of pressure to secure a result in Sunday's marquee clash with Spain to keep its hopes of surviving the group alive, especially after the squad's early exit four years ago in Russia.

The losses by the favored Argentines and Germans are also a wake-up call to the tournament favorites that there won't be any guaranteed points in Qatar.