Crowds flooded the Khalifa International Stadium on Wednesday for a dramatic head to head between Germany and Japan at the Group Stages of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 that ended with a 2-1 win for the Asians.
Ahead of the game, German players posed for a picture in which they were seen covering their mouths as a response to a FIFA ban on wearing ‘One Love’ protest armbands.
Shortly after, the first half kicked off with power and energy from both sides with the play pressing up and down the pitch.
With just 8 minutes into the game, Japan’s Junya Ito delivered a curled cross into the box for teammate Daizen Maeda who slipped it into the box before the offside flag was raised.
Despite holding majority possession early in the first half, Germany failed to make an impact on the attacking end but were saved by a VAR check which declared a penalty in their favour after Japan’s goalkeeper Shūichi Gonda took down David Raum.
As expected, Ilkay Gundogan found the back of the net at the 33rd minute, giving his German side the lead.
With half time edging closer, thousands of fans at the stadium attempted several renditions of the Mexican wave, bringing both camps together in a temporary show of unity.
Drama unfolded shortly after with a VAR check reversing its own goal decision on a German goal that was ultimately declared offside. Japan quickly pounced in the seconds prior to the half time whistle with a header that just edged wide of the post.
As the players headed off for a quick break, statistics showed a stark difference between the two teams with Germany striking 13 attempts to 0, 4 of which were on target.
Despite taking the lead, German fans appeared almost lifeless compared to their more energetic Japanese counterparts on the opposing end as the second half commenced.
Energy from the fans appeared to pump up Japan in the final 20 minutes with both Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano catapulting the Asians into the lead in a stunning comeback.