Bayern Munich and Germany’s goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and his national teammates went down 1-2 against Japan in their opening game of the FIFA World Cup. While Germany dominated possession and created significant chances to score, they failed to convert their chances into goals. Japan on the other hand had a disciplined and tight defence that combined with an efficient attack got job done against a Germany that isn’t firing on all cylinders.
Group E is one of the tougher groups in the World Cup with Spain, Japan and Costa Rica being huddled together with Germany. The unpredictability of Japan on top of their individual talent and industrious playstyle make them a very dangerous team to go up against.
With an xG of 3.53, Die Mannschaft had every opportunity to close the game with a healthy lead of 3 goals. However thanks to the heroics of Shuichi Gonda in goal, the discipline and intensity of the Japanese side saw this game turn in their favour. Make no mistake, Japan is not an unbeatable team which is what makes this loss all the more agonizing for the Germans.
Considering Spain to be the better team and secure the win against Japan, this game was a must win game for Germany to move past the group stages. With this victory, Japan have a very good chance of qualifying for the knockout phases even if they lose to Spain whereas Germany are not assured of qualification even with two consecutive wins. If Japan manages another upset win against Spain, the math is only going to get more weirder but that should give Germany a better chance. But as far as Germany is concerned, it’s all or nothing for them in the next two games.
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.