Germany’s first World Cup game in Qatar ended in an unexpected loss due to Japan’s spectacular late comeback.
Germany had controlled the game for long stretches but failed to capitalize on their pressure before Japan caused the Khalifa International Stadium to explode with joy and shock.
After squeezing in a thunderous goal from a tight angle to give Japan a 2-1 lead, substitute Takuma Asano raced up to the cameras in the stadium’s corner in ecstasy.
Before the crowd realized the ball had gone in, it tumbled down from the roof of the net, bringing the game to a halt.
Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan had given Germany the lead from the penalty spot in the first half before Japan’s Ritsu Doan, a substitute, tied the score in the 75th minute.
The goal came after a series of incredible saves by both goalkeepers, including a double save by Japan’s Shuichi Gonda to deny Serge Gnabry and Jonas Hofmann and a save by Germany’s Manuel Neuer to deny Junya Ito.
Germany, which finished last in their group in Russia in 2018, had several chances to extend their lead when the score was 1-0.
In Group E, they will face 2010 group champions Spain on Sunday before facing Costa Rica in the group’s final match.