In echoes of Argentina’s humiliating defeat to Saudi Arabia just over 24 hours earlier, Germany took the lead through a first-half penalty but a spirited fightback saw the underdogs claim a famous 2-1 victory.
Germany have now lost their opening match in their last three tournaments and could face a repeat of 2018 when they failed to make it out of the World Cup group stage for the first time in their history.
With Costa Rica and fellow World Cup holders Spain still to play, Germany now face another uphill battle to escape the ‘Group of Death’, and their fans and media are already savaging the superstars.
National newspaper Bild branded the result a ‘debacle’ and said the team ‘made a fool of themselves’ while Die Welt accused the millionaire stars of being ‘frightened’.
The result sparked wild scenes of jubilation from Japan’s loyal travelling fans while Germany’s expectant fans could only watch on as horror with their heads in their hands.
Japanese players run on to the pitch in celebration as the final whistle blows confirming a famous World Cup victory over Germany
It was only the third time Germany had lost its tournament-opening game after defeats against Algeria in 1982 and Mexico in 2018
Germany’s Serge Gnabry (left) buries his head in the grass after the embarrassing defeat while Joshua Kimmich looks emotional (Right)
Two German fans, one wearing full kit from shirt to socks, sit despondently in the stadium surrounded by discarded flags after full time
A group of dejected German fans sit silently on their phones after travelling to Doha to cheer on their national team
Germany fans watched in on horror at the final whistle after travelling to Doha to watch their team succumb to a third successive tournament opening day defeat
A German fan back home at the Christmas market in Westfalenschaenke cries out in frustration as Germany miss another golden chance
Japanese fans could not contain their emotions at the final whistle in one of the country’s biggest ever results
Ko Itakura of Japan takes a selfie with a photographer as players celebrated on the pitch after the famous victory
Germany’s Antonio Rudiger can only watch on as delirious Japanese stars celebrate around him
Jubilant fans celebrate at the final whistle at a fanzone event in Tokyo as Japan claimed a famous victory
It was yet further World Cup woe for four-time winners Germany, who arrived in Qatar looking to bounce back from exiting the 2018 edition, at which they had been defending champions, in the group stage
Miserable German fans stand among Japanese supporters awaiting the final whistle at the Khalifa Stadium in Qatar
Japan fans watching the game from Tokyo cheer and wave their country’s flag after scoring against the Germans
Japanese substitutes run on to the pitch at the final whistle to celebrate their famous win over Germany
Japan’s midfielders Wataru Endo and Yuki Soma embrace in wild scenes of celebration after defeating four-time winners Germany
Japan’s midfielder Ritsu Doan celebrates with his teammates after scoring his team’s opener
Agony and ecstasy: Japan’s Takuma Asano celebrates after Japan came from 1-0 down to beat four-time winners Germany while Ilkay Gundogan holds his head in his hands
Bild (pictured) branded the result a ‘debacle’ and said the team ‘made a fool of themselves’ while Die Welt accused the millionaire stars of being ‘frightened’
Social media users joked that Germany’s fans will now have to seek advice from Argentina’s supporters with how to cope with a humiliating defeat after Lionel Messi’s side lost 2-1 on Tuesday
Social media users joked that Germany’s fans will now have to seek advice from Argentina’s supporters with how to cope with a humiliating defeat after Lionel Messi’s side lost 2-1 on Tuesday.
One user posted a meme of Milhouse showing Bart Simpson a cave and saying: ‘This is where I come to cry.’ The caption read: ‘Argentina fans to German fans.’
In a similar vain, another football fan posted ‘Argentina fans to German fans right now’ above an image of actor James Franco in the film ‘The Ballad of Buster Scruggs’ with a noose around his neck.
Germany’s football fans bore the brunt of the mockery as their team has won four World Cup titles – the most of any European team.
Another meme showed an image of Germany’s players covering their mouths during the team photo in a snub at FIFA’s apparent attempts to silence them, but added the caption: ‘German fans right now’.
One Twitter user posted a meme of Jeff from the British sit-com Peep Show raising his middle finger to the character Mark with the caption: ‘The English fans consoling the German fans after their opening 2-1 loss to Japan.’
England has had a tendency to lose against Germany in major tournaments, with the German team beating the Three Lions at the infamous 2010 World Cup match.
The result sparked wild scenes of jubilation from Japan’s loyal travelling fans while Germany’s expectant fans could only watch on as horror
Ritsu Doan of Japan celebrates after the 2-1 win during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E match
Germany looked in total command in the Group E clash but, with each missed chance, left the door open for Japan, who showed almost nothing in attack until a series of substitutions injected some energy in the second half
Japan fans watching on from Tokyo cheers as the team takes a surprise lead against one of the tournament favourites
Sharp-suited Japan manager who failed a trial at Manchester United before masterminding his country’s most famous win
The mastermind of Japan’s stunning victory over Germany is renowned for being one of the smartest men in world football – and always wears a suit on the touchline.
Sharp-dressed manager Hajime Moriyasu, 54, who was born in was born in Nagasaki, is married with two sons who are both professional footballers.
Often seen prowling the touchline and barking orders to his players in his trademark dark suit, Moriyasu, once had a trial at Manchester United at the start of his football career in 1990 when he was 22 years old.
But he failed to impress the then manager Alex Ferguson and his coaching staff and was not offered a contract by the club.
Sharp-dressed manager Hajime Moriyasu, 54, who was born in was born in Nagasaki, is married with two sons who are both professional footballers
Moriyasu returned to Japan where he spent 14 years with one club before going into coaching.
The 2-1 victory in Doha will be all the sweeter for the 54 year as the city was the venue for one of the worst moments in his international playing career.
In 1994 he was part of the Japanese team when they took on Iraq in the final round of qualification for the World Cup.
Needing a victory to guarantee qualification for their first ever World Cup they were held to a 2-2 draw with the Iraqi team scoring the equaliser in the last minutes of the match.
The draw allowed bitter rivals South Korea to take their place at the tournament in America and the match, which featured Moriyasu in midfield, became known in Japan as the ‘Agony of Doha’.
Thoughts of that match were banished as the father of two celebrated with his players for the second shock result of the Qatar tournament following Saudi Arabia’s defeat of Argentina.
Moriyasu had first showed his promise while playing as a midfielder for Nagasaki Nihon University High School.
He spent most of his playing career with Sanfrecce Hiroshima where he made 271 appearances, and later became a youth coach with the club.
Japan’s head coach Hajime Moriyasu, right, congratulates his player Takumi Minamino end of the World Cup clash
He managed Japan’s youth sides to the 2006 AFC Youth Championship and 2007 Under-20 World Cup and later took charge of Japan’s Under-23 side for the lead-up to their home Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.
He was an assistant to the national team boss Akira Nishino at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where Japan were knocked out by Belgium in the last 16.
After the tournament, Moriyasu was promoted to national team manager for the 2019 Asian Cup and 2020 Olympics.
He steered the team through the qualification rounds where they finished second to Saudi Arabia in their group.
Both his sons played professional football.
His eldest Shohei,31, played for Japanese league side Kamatamare Sanuki while 29-year-old Keigo played for Edgeworth FC in New South Wales, Australia.
Kai Havertz of Germany reacts during the FIFA World Cup 2022 group E soccer match between Germany and Japan
Japan’s Takuma Asano celebrates after the match after his goal secured a famous win for the Samurai Blues
Gundogan cooly tucked home, with Japanese keeper Shuichi Gonda going the other way
Ritsu Doan then equalised minutes after coming on, pegging back the World Champions
Takuma Asano scored a sensational winner as Japan caused a huge upset to beat Germany 2-1
Asano made a huge difference after coming on, and netted late on – sparking wild scenes
German players cover their mouths in FIFA protest
German players covered their mouths in a Qatari stadium today ahead of their World Cup clash with Japan in protest of FIFA’s decision to ban an LGBTQ armband.
Their show of defiance in the Khalifa Stadium in Doha came after the world football governing body threatened sanctions against teams and their captains if they went ahead with their plan to wear the ‘OneLove’ armband – which had been viewed as a symbolic protest against laws in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal.
All German players took part in the gesture in front of dozens of photographers on the pitch ahead of their Group E match kickoff, which ended with the four-time winners losing 2-1 to their Japanese opponents in another World Cup shock.
After the protest and as the match kicked off, the German Football Association (DFB) released an statement emphatically supporting its team, saying: ‘To ban the armband is like banning our right to speak.’
Meanwhile, watching from the stands, Germany’s Interior Minister Nancy Faeser wore the armband instead. She had hidden it underneath a pink blazer, which she took off as the game began – revealing the band and its heart-shaped logo.
Germany’s players placed their hands over their mouths during a team photo ahead of their game against Japan in a World Cup Group E match on Wednesday in protest. Pictured, top row (left-to-right): David Raum, captain and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, Antonio Rüdiger, Kay Havertz, Niklas Süle and Nico Schlotterbeck. Bottom-row, left-to-right: Joshua Kimmich, Serge Gnabry, Jamal Musiala, Thomas Müller and İlkay Gündoğa
The Germans had dominated the contest at the Khalifa International Stadium and taken the lead with a 33rd minute penalty from Manchester City’s Ilkay Guendogan after Japan goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda had fouled wing back David Raum.
But a quick-fire double from Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano within eight minutes turned the tide and set the Samurai Blue on course for a historic win.
To add insult to injury, much of Japan’s team, including their two goalscorers, ply their trade in Germany’s Bundesliga, making them all too familiar to the heartbroken fans watching back home.
Germany are famed for their tournament prowess but they have now suffered three defeats in the opening games of their last three tournaments.
At Euro 2020 they lost to France before bowing out to England in the Round of 16, while they lost to Mexico at the 2018 World Cup and failed to make it out of their group after losing to South Korea.
It was the first competitive meeting between the two nations.
Before the game, Germany’s players covered their mouths during the team photo in an apparent rebuke to FIFA following its decision to stop plans to wear armbands to protest discrimination in host nation Qatar.
After surviving an early scare when Japan came close to taking the lead, Germany dominated the first half.
Gundogan of City and Joshua Kimmich of Bayern Munich were the driving forces behind the German superiority, moving the ball often to the left side where the advancing David Laum was a persistent danger from left-back.
Former Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger, now of Real Madrid, was the first to threaten, heading narrowly wide from a corner. Then Kimmich saw a powerful shot saved and Gundogan lifted the rebound over the bar when really he should have scored.
Japan were organised across their back four and were able to restrict Germany to shots from distance on the whole. But they were persistently losing ground in midfield and this enabled the Germans to keep pushing relentlessly until something gave.
Gundogan was twice more denied – once by goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda and once by the leg of former Southampton defender Maya Yoshida – before he was eventually given an opportunity from the penalty spot.
Again it was a run from Laum down the left that caused Japan their problem. The 24-year-old was in yards of space and as he turned back inside to assess his options, goalkeeper Gonda fouled him twice as he bundled him to the ground.
The decision was subjected to a VAR trip but there was little doubt about it and Gundogan ambled up to stroke a penalty to the goalkeeper’s right in the 33rd minute.
The shock defeat was the second major upset of the tournament after Lionel Messi’s Argentina lost to Saudi Arabia yesterday
Saudi fans celebrated wildly in the stands after their team fended off one of the tournament favourites Argentina yesterday before Germany suffered a similar defeat today
Argentine fans looked utterly dejected following the match in which their team strayed offside six times and saw three goals disallowed
Japan clean up on and OFF the pitch!
Japan fans have collected garbage after their side’s win over Germany- days after tidying up another stadium.
Fans in football shirts were seen armed with bottles and waste as they tidied up the stadium.
The supporters stayed behind at the venue after the match, which saw their team triumph 2-1 over Germany.
They were seen checking rows for rubbish and placing it in their bags, in a gesture of respect and goodwill.
Fans in football shirts were seen armed with bottles and waste as they tidied up the stadium, pictured
Another fan with what appeared to be blue hair, a nod of support to his country, lent down as he placed bottles and other waste in a plastic bag.
The supporters have garnered praise online for their actions, with one person tweeting: ‘2022: For the first time Japan defeated Germany in Group stage opener after being 1-0 down.
‘Also Japanese culture of cleaning and respecting people is really awesome. Long live Asian football.’
Another person wrote: ‘Japan’s fans are truly the best. They beat Germany in a famous win, but before celebrating stuck around at the Khalifa International Stadium to help clean up.’
Another fan with what appeared to be blue hair, a nod of support to his country, lent down as he placed bottles and other waste in a plastic bag, pictured
Now that the Japanese defence had been breached, Germany began to play with more fluency and confidence and their opponents were hanging on a little bit as half-time neared.
Chelsea’s Kai Havertz popped in a pass across goal in first half added time but VAR showed him to be a yard offside. Then at the other end Japan briefly rallied to threaten as Daeda headed a cross narrowly wide. Prior to all that, though, Kimmich worked Gonda from distance and much-talked about teenager Jamal Musiala swept one of his own over the bar.
Japan’s change at half-time saw Arsenal’s defender Takehiro Tomiyasu come on but nothing changed in terms of the flow
of the play. Indeed, within a minute of the game restarting, Serge Gnabry overlapped on the right and kissed the top of the bar with an angle shot. And then, in the 50th minute, Musiala almost scored one of the goals of the tournament so far, selling a succession of dummies as he eased across the penalty area before shooting over the bar with his right foot.
This was a World Cup debut for the Bayern Munich player who attended an English school and as time went on he grew increasingly influential. And when he cut inside from the left in the 60th minute to feed Gundogan, his team-mate should have done better than plant a shot against the outside of the post.
There continued to be sporadic threats from Japan. In the 67th minute, for example, defender Ko Itakura met a corner at the far post and headed dangerously across goal. Then, soon after, another corner caused a bit of panic in the German penalty area.
Among the small but persistently noisy group of Japanese fans behind the goal at that end, there was a growing sense that something may be possible. And when goalkeeper Gonda made four saves in the space of one minute – three of them alone were from Gnabry – Japan remained very much in the game.
Gonda had made up for the error that conceded the penalty and then some. The save of the match then came from Germany’s Neuer – the veteran palming away a cross shot from Daichi Kamada – but a minute later the 2014 champions’ defence was finally breached.
A cross shot from the left from substitute Takumi Minamino was pushed away again by Neuer but this time the rebound ran to Doan and he rammed the ball in to the empty net.
Germany were paying the price for not killing the game but Japan’s self-belief and courage had played a part in the comeback too. A draw looked at that stage as though it would represent a superb result for the underdogs but they weren’t finished and they stunned Germany with a second goal with seven minutes left.
The long free-kick forward from Itakura, caught Nico Schlotterbeck sleeping and when Asano controlled the ball beautifully he was able to hold off his opponent’s challenge and beat Neuer high at his near post.
What a turnaround this had been. Germany had controlled this game but suddenly, with the clock counting down, they were facing one of the biggest embarrassments in their history.
Just four days into the Qatar tournament, which has received a deluge of international criticism, two historic results have already made waves worldwide.
Yesterday, Argentina’s shellshocked fans reacted with disbelief after Lionel Messi and his superstar teammates suffered a shock defeat to international minnows Saudi Arabia.
Die-hard supporters in the football-loving nation that was one of the pre-tournament favourites were left speechless by the stunning 2-1 turnaround in Doha, ending their incredible 36-match winning streak.
Watching 8,000 miles away back home, fans decked in Messi and Diego Maradona shirts could only watch on in despair as one of the best players of all time failed to inspire his nation to victory on the world’s biggest stage.
The country’s media decried the humiliating victory, saying the tournament had already gone ‘from a dream to a nightmare’, as their qualification to the knockout rounds now hangs in the balance.
Meanwhile in Saudi Arabia, jubilant scenes were underway with the kingdom declaring a national holiday for all students and workers to celebrate the historic win.
The Gulf state is currently ranked a lowly 51st in the world behind hosts Qatar and came into the tournament with low expectations in a group with Argentina, who were tipped by many to challenge for ultimate glory.