Japan thrash Germany in football thrilller

Japan staged a clinical performance and scored twice in each half to flabbergast Germany 4-1 in Wolfsburg on Saturday.

The Germans started on the front foot and pressed the Samurai Blue into the defense.

The visitors shocked the hosts with 11 minutes though when Yukinari Sugawara’s cross to the near post allowed Junya Ito to tap home the opener from a tight angle.

Germany responded well and restored parity only eight minutes later after Leroy Sane finished off a combination via captain Ilkay Gundogan and Florian Wirtz.

However, Japan remained unimpressed and grabbed the lead again in the 22nd minute as Ito set up for Ayase Ueda, who slotted home to gain the 2-1 advantage from close range.

Japan staged a well-positioned defense as well as only Wirtz came close after pulling wide from a promising position at the half-hour mark.

The Samurai Blue nearly made it three just before the break but for all that Ueda couldn’t overcome Germany goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen in a one-on-one.

Ter Stegen had his hands full of work after the restart as Germany’s No. 1 had to neutralize Ueda’s attempt in the 54th minute before denying Takuma Asano in a one-on-one in the 70th minute.

Japan kept their focus on the defense in the closing stages but still caught Germany flatfooted as Takefusa Kubo dispossessed Robin Gossens before squaring into the path of Asano, who tapped home into the empty goal to put the result beyond doubt in the 90th minute.

Things went from bad to worse for Hansi Flick’s men as Japan wasn’t done with the scoring and made it 4-1 after Ao Tanaka nodded home Kubo’s whipped cross in the dying seconds of the match.

With the result, Germany lost its third straight game for the first time in 38 years.

“We are, of course, really disappointed, but we have to acknowledge that Japan was the better team today. We started well while Japan scored with its first chance. We then came back but had to swallow a setback straight away. Japan ruthlessly exploited our individual mistakes. We must put another performance on the pitch against France,” said Germany coach Flick.

Germany faces France for the next international clash while Japan encounters Turkey on Tuesday.

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