Qatar 2022: Germany to crash out of group stages again?
Germany FIFA World Cup Japan

That is the question on everyone's minds after seeing the scoreline from Die Mannschaft's opening group game of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

It has proven already to be a World Cup of upsets as teams who were billed to win games have struggled to draws against those they were expected to beat. The biggest upset, however, remains the defeat of Argentina at the hands of Saudi Arabia.

And while Germany losing to Japan is an upset in itself, it does not come as a big surprise for those who have followed the forms of both teams up until Qatar. Germany have struggled in the UEFA Nations League while Japan have slowly built from the ground up to acquire a defence that can hold its own against the likes of Brazil.

Germany have now lost to another Asian Football Confederation (AFC) nation on the global stage and questions will be asked about Hans-Dieter Flick's thinking going into what looks like the group of death in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Japan seal famous win from losing position

The Blue Samurais fought like their ancestors to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat when faced with an obstacle that seemed insurmountable. Boasting talents like Kai Havertz, Serge Gnabry, Leon Goretzka, Joshua Kimmich, and marshalled at the back by the imposing Manuel Neuer, Germany were expected to put in a strong showing on Wednesday afternoon.

Japan, meanwhile, stuck to their tactics and blocked out every passing lane the Germans tried to exploit, while trying to hit them on the counter. It looked to have paid off when they put the ball in the back of the net in the eighth minute, only for it to be ruled out for offside. The event seemed to wake Germany up as they peppered the Japan defence, but the Asians stayed resolute.

The game looked to be going as expected when in the 33rd minute, a cross from Kimmich causes some confusion in the Japan box, which sees the Japan goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda bring down Germany's leftback Raum, who was clear on goal. Manchester City man Ilkay Gundogan stepped up to slot in the spotkick to score his sixth penalty goal from his last seven goals for Germany.

Japan continue to ward off attack after attack from Germany, and it looked like a matter of time before the four-time world champions got the assurance goal. They thought that moment had arrived in the first half of additional time when Kai Havertz had the ball in the back of the net, only for it to be ruled out for offside by VAR.

The Germans emerged in the second half full of confidence, but so did Japan. However, it was the four-time World Cup winners who began on the front foot. The match soon became end to end and the stadium erupted in delight at the quality of football on display from both sides.

It would be Japan who would get the next goal of the game in the 75th minute, thanks to quick reflexes from Ritsu Doan, who reacted quickest to smash in a loose ball. The Asians put their European opponents to the sword eight minutes later thanks to quick thinking for Ko Itakura, who sent Takuma Asano on his way to finish expertly.

Japan are now group leaders and have set the pace for the group. They will now wait to face Costa Rica in their second game of the group while Germany will hope to get a good result against Spain.