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Takuma Asano turned hero as Japan notched one of the biggest shocks in FIFA World Cup 2022 with a 2-1 win over Germany thanks to a scintillating second-half comeback in their World Cup Group E match at the Khalifa International Stadium on Wednesday.

Germany started well as midfielder Ilkay Gundogan scored a penalty in the 33rd minute to give them a 1-0 lead over Japan at halftime. Gundogan sent Japan's Shuichi Gonda the wrong way after the goalkeeper's challenge on David Raum awarded the spot kick to Germany. Forward Kai Havertz thought he had made it 2-0 before the break, but VAR ruled him offside, and Japan's Daizen Maeda had a goal disallowed as well.

The Germans had dominated the contest at the Khalifa International Stadium and took the lead with a 33rd-minute penalty from Ilkay Guendogan after Japan goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda had fouled wing-back, David Raum.

However, the second goal never came for Germany despite being the better side in the first half, and Japan's incursions into the German half became more frequent, culminating in Ritsu Doan's equaliser and a brilliant finish from Takuma Asano eight minutes



later.

Germany appeared to be in complete control of the Group E clash, but each missed opportunity opened the door for Japan, who showed almost nothing in attack until a series of substitutions injected some energy in the second half. Gonda then made amends by denying Jonas Hofmann and Serge Gnabry four times in a row, keeping his team in the game.

Manuel Neuer, playing in his fourth World Cup, was alert as well, saving from Hiroki Sakai and then blocking Takumi Minamino, only for fellow substitute Doan to smash in the loose ball.

Germany's defeat was their third in a row in the opening match of a major championship, following defeats to Mexico at the 2018 World Cup, where they were eliminated in the first round as champions, and France at Euro 2020.

This happened for the first time since 1994 when Germany lost the World Cup match after scoring the opener. In July 1994, Lothar Matthaus put Germany ahead, and Hristo Stoichkov and Yordan Letchkov gave Bulgaria the victory.

For the first time since June 1978, Germany lost a World Cup match after leading at halftime. They'd gone 21 games without losing after leading at halftime in the finals.
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