If you’ve read the news lately, even if you’re not a sports fan, you’d probably have heard about Lionel Messi’s Argentina losing their first match in the World Cup against Saudi Arabia.
In other words, the World Cup kicked off with quite possibly the largest upset in sporting history.
Well, if you thought the rollercoaster got any calmer since then, you’d be wrong.
Japan Clutches Up to Beat Germany in the World Cup Opening
Japan pulled the rabbit out of the hat in the nick of time and trumped Germany 2-1 in the World Cup group stage.
In case you didn’t know, Japan is ranked 24th in the world, and Germany is 11th.
Also, Germany won the 2014 Brazil World Cup.
It doesn’t take a football fanatic to know that that’s an astounding feat.
Just like how the Argentina vs Saudi Arabia match went, the fan-favourite scored early on.
Germany’s Ilkay Gundogan scored in the 33rd minute with a penalty kick after the Japanese goalkeeper fouled inside the penalty box.
In the late stages of the first half, Germany’s Kai Havertz netted, but the goal was chalked off because he was offside, according to the VAR (video assistant referee).
Basically, he shot from an illegal position.
As the game continued, Japan made tactical substitutions which ultimately allowed them to triumph.
Just four minutes after being substituted into the game, forward Ritsu Doan equalised the match, and forward Takuma Asano put Japan up by one in the 82nd minute of the game.
You can watch the highlights here:
Germany Loses First Opening Match Two World Cups in a Row
With this loss, Germany has lost their opening match in two World Cups in a row. In the previous 2018 Russia World Cup, they were knocked out in the group stage, and now, they risk the same fate.
Hanzi Flick, the German team manager, now faces a tall order. In order for Germany’s progress to the round of 16, they have to win their following two matches. That means that they will have to overcome the bulldozer of Spain’s team. Unless they win, they will suffer the same disappointment as they did four years ago.
To put the difficulty of beating Spain into perspective, Spain won their first match against Costa Rica with an astounding score.
Throughout the game, Spain’s ball possession was around 82%, and this win is officially the largest World Cup win ever for Spain.
This puts Spain at the top of the Group, ahead of Japan, because their win saw the largest goal difference.
By now, I think we can agree that this World Cup, albeit full of upsets, is an insanely exciting one.
Featured Image: SCMP