Well, there’s not really much to summing up Germany’s shock 2-1 loss to Japan other than; “it simply wasn’t good enough.” Second half goals from Japan substitutes Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano in the second half cancelled out Ilkay Gundogan’s converted penalty in the 33rd minute, handing Hansi Flick a massive blow to start out the World Cup with a very difficult opponent, Spain, looming large this Sunday. Germany now have all of their work cut out for them if they want to avoid the same fate they experienced in Russia four years ago under Joachim Low.
Particularly in the second half as the match really started to open up, Japan started to create clear cut chances. Hajime Moriyasu’s subs were very positive and injected by pace and creativity to Japan’s attack, which really stretched Germany at times an left them quite open at the back. This is exactly how Japan scored both of their goals on the break, capitalizing of lapses in defensive concentration from Germany on the back foot.
Speaking after the match, Flick was critical in some of the individual errors for Japan’s second goal, which wound up being the match winner. “Niklas (Sule) simply has to pay attention. He played him onside because he dropped two or three steps too far. These are individual mistakes that we had to pay for today,” he stressed (via @iMiaSanMia).
In the sequence Flick was referencing, Sule played Asano onside by not stepping up at the right time and left Nico Schlotterbeck far too much ground to make up before it was slotted past Manuel Neuer at the near post.
Flick was also left to rue Germany’s missed chances, which they did have plenty of. Their lack of a final product in the final third had remanence of Bayern Munich’s struggles earlier in the Hinrunde this season, which has since been resolved to great effect. On the overall balance, Germany registered nine shots on target to Japan’s four — that latter were far more critical with the chances they got.
“In the first half we missed a lot of chances. Japan beat us in terms of efficiency and therefore scored one more goal. The individual mistakes that we made must not happen. We knew Japan were quick in transition, and that’s what they did today,” Flick explained.
Interested in a more in-depth (and miserable) review of the game and what went wrong? Then why not check out our postgame podcast? We talk about Flick’s selections, underperforming players, tactical issues, and more! Listen to it below or on Spotify.
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