Takuma Asano came off the bench to score a dramatic winning goal for Japan, who pulled off a 2022 World Cup shock by beating Germany 2-1 at the Khalifa International Stadium.
The winger, who plays for VfL Bochum in the German Bundesliga, made a huge impact on a game that had seen Ilkay Gundogan give Germany the lead through a first-half penalty, before Japan substitute Ritsu Doan equalised 15 minutes from the end.
That gave Asano enough time to latch onto Ko Itakura’s long ball forward and execute a sublime piece of control – reminiscent of Dennis Bergkamp for the Netherlands against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup – and score past Manuel Neuer to spark wild celebrations among the blue sections of the stadium.
Before the turnaround, the game had looked set to catapult Germany playmaker Jamal Musiala into the spotlight after the 19-year-old put on a superb display of skill in attack while Die Mannschaft led.
But the script was re-written by Japan’s super substitutes, and Samurai Blue have taken early control of Group E and with Spain next up for the Germans the pressure is well and truly on.