It will be a difficult loss to digest for Bayern Munich and Germany’s goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and his men as they went down 1-2 to Japan in their opening game of the FIFA World Cup. Captain Neuer and midfielder Gündoğan rued missed chances and a lack of presence and intent as key factors of the defeat to the men from the land of the rising Sun.
Neuer: "We actually had control of the game, but then we brought the opponent back into it. If you don't show yourself, if you don't show a presence, then you pay the price. And that's what happened today"— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) November 23, 2022
Despite going up against a tight defence from a solid Japan side, Germany still created plenty of chances, having an xG of 3.53 compared to Japan’s 1.33. However, Germany severely lacked the finishing touch as they failed to put away precious chances with Gundo himself missing two clear cut chances himself.
The other reason both the goalie and his midfielder highlight is lack of intent and presence from the German players. This is true as Germany were hardly able to make Japan feel their presence and weight despite dominating possession. Japan were calm and hassled the German players whenever they got into dangerous areas and successfully thwarted any threats to their goal. The fact that Germany could not return this favour hurt Die Mannschaft.
Gündogan: "We also didn't build up the play well from the back. The conviction to hold the ball from the back and offer yourself was missing - so we played long balls. You almost got the feeling that not everyone wanted the ball. We simply lost the ball way too often"— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) November 23, 2022
Aside from Rudiger, the German defenders could hardly trouble the Japanese attackers on the rare occasions of counter attack. With an increased frequency of counter attacks in the second half, it inevitably led to Germany conceding two goals in 15 minutes and Japan seizing the game from right under the noses of Hansi Flick’s men.
Having said that, “not everyone wanted the ball” wouldn’t be totally true. In the box, the German players did show intent but lacked co-ordination with Gundo himself shooting instead of passing despite there being a better chance had the pass been made. Again, the players not being on the same page in the final third was a big part of the missed chances that ultimately proved too costly for Germany.
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.
As always, we appreciate all the support!