World Cup: Germany fall to shock defeat to Japan in opening game

Japan celebrate their second goal against Germany. 

Credit: AP
Japan beat Germany 2-1 in the opening match of Group E in the World Cup. Credit: AP

Germany have suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to Japan in their opening World Cup group match.

Hansi Flick's side initially took the lead in the first half through a penalty from Manchester City midfielder İlkay Gündoğan.

But Japan made an impressive comeback in the second half, with Ritsu Doan scoring the equaliser in the 75th minute.

Germany remained sloppy in defence and Japan's winner came just eight minutes after their equaliser.

In the 83rd minute former Arsenal forward Takuma Asano capitalised on poor positioning at the back from Germany, held off the defender and blasted the ball into the roof of the net.

The Japan players sprinted to celebrate with their fans at the Khalifa International Stadium.

Japan players celebrate after the final whistle as they beat Germany in the World Cup Group E opener. Credit: AP

Leon Goretzka came close to equalising in the final couple of minutes of injury time, but Japan held out for all three points.

Germany had not been beaten in a World Cup group match after leading at half time since 1978.

It means they start Group E with a defeat, with games against Spain and Costa Rica still to come.

Before the match, the German players appeared to protest at being blocked from wearing an anti-discrimination armband as they posed for a team photograph.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know