Japan made it difficult for the rest of Group E after the team won the second World Cup shocker in as many days with a 2-1 win over Germany.
Germany entered the tournament as one of the favorites to win it all with a side full of veterans who won the title in 2014, but disappointment set in again after the team failed to progress from the group stage in 2018.
Ranked No. 11 in the final FIFA poll before the World Cup, Germany started Ilkay Gündogan took advantage of a penalty in the 33rd minute. He got the ball into the net past Japanese goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda. Germany took the 1-0 lead into the break.
It took another 40 minutes for Japan – number 24 in the FIFA rankings – to equalize.
Ritsu Doan tied the game in the 75th minute. Doan came onto the field in the 71st minute and used his fresh legs to be in the right place at the right time. A shot landed on German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and in front of Doan, who shot the ball into the net.
Eight minutes later – more cheers for the Japanese side.
Takuma Asano got behind the German defense and took a ridiculous angle to get to the net. He was right in front of Neuer when he fired the ball high overhead into the far corner of the net.
The Japanese bank went berserk and the fans erupted in cheers.
Japan now moves closer to the knockout stage for the second consecutive tournament. It is their second victory in their last three tournaments. Japan defeated Colombia in their opening game in 2018.
Germany will now hope that Spain and Costa Rica falter down the line. Both teams now have a chance to get out of the group. Spain won the tournament in 2010.
Japan’s stunning win followed Saudi Arabia’s upset of Argentina on Tuesday.