Germany’s World Cup campaign could not have got off to a worse start, losing 2-1 to Japan after leading for the majority of the game. In a rather uneventful first-half, Ilkay Gündogan opened the scoring from a penalty after Japan goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda fouled David Raum. In the 75th minute, Freiburg’s Ritsu Doan equalised for the Samurai Blue before Takuma Asano scored the winner for Japan.
Goalscorer Gündogan spoke to DAS Erste on the defeat: “We made it too easy for Japan. The second goal in particular, that shouldn’t happen, we’re at the World Cup. Manu saved us a few times. We had incredible chances to score but didn’t make it 2-0. That must not happen to us.”
The midfielder also highlighted some of the areas the team struggled in during the game: “We also didn’t build up the play well from the back. The conviction to hold the ball from the back and offer yourself was missing – so we played long balls. You almost got the feeling that not everyone wanted the ball. We simply lost the ball way too often.”
With his penalty, Gündogan scored his 16th goal for Germany, before being later substituted for Leon Goretzka.
Germany’s next game in the group is against Spain, who are top of Group E after beating Costa Rica. To avoid elimination, Germany must avoid defeat. A win would mean that Germany’s fate will be partially in their hands going into the final game of the group stage.
GGFN | Jack Meenan