2022 FIFA World Cup: Japan Stun Germany, Morocco Draw With Croatia

Japan Defeat Germany 2-1

DOHA- Substitutes Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano scored late goals Wednesday to give Japan a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Germany at the World Cup.

Ilkay G√ľndogan had given four-time champion Germany the lead with a first-half penalty. But Doan, who plays for German team Freiburg, pounced on a rebound to equalize in the 76th minute after Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer blocked a shot from Takumi Minamino.

Then Asano, who plays for German team Bochum, sprinted clear of Nico Schlotterbeck and beat Neuer from a narrow angle in the 83rd.

It was the first competitive meeting between the two nations.

Before the game, Germany’s players covered their mouths during the team photo in an apparent rebuke to FIFA following its decision to stop plans to wear armbands to protest discrimination in host nation Qatar.

Morocco Holds Croatia 0-0

Another surprisingly strong performance by an Arab country at the World Cup in Qatar stifled the threat of Luka Modric and held 2018 finalist Croatia to a 0-0 draw.

Morocco’s resilient performance Wednesday came 24 hours after Saudi Arabia sparked the first World Cup in the Middle East into life by beating Lionel Messi’s Argentina in one of the biggest upsets in the tournament’s history.

Tunisia followed that up with a scoreless draw against European Championship semifinalist Denmark.

Morocco managed to do enough to rein in Croatia captain Modric, who was still his team’s best player in their Group F opener and had one of the best chances when his shot just rose over the crossbar in the first half.

The result was a major confidence-booster for Morocco and coach Walid Regragui, who was only hired at the end of August. (AP)

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