By Razeen Gutta
With the Germans turning their attention away from the football in a pre-match protest, Japan took advantage with a breathtaking second half, coming back from behind to win 2-1.
It was another massive first round upset at the Khalifa International Stadium, with one of the tournament favourites already feeling upset prior to kick off.
The German national team covered their mouths in the team photograph moments before kick off, with their federation later issuing a statement on the protest.
“It wasn’t about making a political statement – human rights are non-negotiable. That should be taken for granted, but it still isn’t the case. That’s why this message is so important to us,” they said on Twitter.
The protest came after the news that players would be published by Fifa with yellow cards if they chose to wear the OneLove armbands in support of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Once the action got underway on the pitch, the Germans looked in control. With Hans Flick’s side taking a first half lead through Ilkay Gundogan from the penalty spot and looking comfortable in possession.
Despite 74% of the ball and 26 attempts to Japan’s 12, the introductions of Takuma Asano, Ritsu Doan and Takumi Minamino made all the difference in the final phases of play.
Doan levelled matters on the 75-minute mark before Asano won it for the Japanese, sending shockwaves through all those of a German persuasion.
Germany will have it all to do if they are to progress to the round of 16 when they take on Spain and then Costa Rica next.
Pictured above: Japan celebrating their goal
Image source: @Goal