Germany lost 2-1 to Japan in their World Cup opener in what is one of the upsets of the tournament so far. Hansi Flick’s side initially took the lead through Ilkay Gündogan before Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano both scored to give Japan the win.
Manuel Neuer, the team’s captain, reacted to the defeat: “We didn’t defend well at the back until the end. Japan put pressure on us in 1v1 situations. We weren’t calm. We needed better positioning as we did in the first-half. We actually had control of the game, but then we brought the opponent back into it. If you don’t show yourself, if you don’t show a presence, then you pay the price. And that’s what happened today.”
Neuer had a strong game against Japan and made several key saves to keep Germany in the lead, however it was ultimately the failure of the defenders in front of him that contributed to this Germany loss.
With Germany’s next game against Spain, they need to improve in certain areas which Neuer addressed: “We’re under pressure now. For me, this was the most important game and we lost. We have to show a different face against Spain, the most difficult opponent. We have to give everything and bring all the potential we have onto the pitch.”
To avoid an early exit similar to that of four years ago, Germany must beat Spain in their next game to guarantee their fate will be in their own hands when they play Costa Rica in the final game. The Spain game will be played on Sunday with Gavi, Pedri and Co. sitting top of Group E.
GGFN | Jack Meenan