Japan manager Hajime Moriyasu hails ‘historic moment’ of win over Germany

  • Moriyasu’s second-half substitutions turn game as Japan win 2-1
  • ‘It’s a historic victory, we are now reaching the global standard’

Hajime Moriyasu described Japan’s 2-1 comeback win against Germany as a “historic moment” after his team shocked the four-time World Cup winners.

Hansi Flick’s side took the lead via Ilkay Gündogan’s 33rd-minute penalty and dominated the first half before Moriyasu made five second‑half substitutions that changed the course of the Group E opener. One of his replacements, Ritsu Doan, equalised on 75 minutes before another, Takumu Asano, scored the winner eight minutes later.

“I believe it’s a historic moment, a historic victory, to say the least,” Moriyasu said. “If I’m thinking of the development of Japanese football, we have been building up. It’s a big surprise and we are now reaching the global standard. We saw Saudi Arabia with a surprise win [beating Argentina on Tuesday], so we are showing our capability of Asian football.

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“From the start we decided to be aggressive; however Germany’s aggression was higher. This was no surprise for us. They have a wonderful goalkeeper, Mr Neuer. However our squad were very intelligent, they were smart and played well persistently. They fought really hard.”

Moriyasu pointed to the fact that his squad’s development had been aided by a contingent who play in Germany and England, including the match-winner, Asano, who is with the Bundesliga club Bochum.

“Of six of our squad, four play in the Bundesliga, two in the Premier League,” Moriyasu said. “They are fighting in these very strong tough leagues. They’ve been building up their strength. So in that context, if those leagues have been contributing to the development of our Japanese players, I respect that and I’m very grateful for this.

After Germany’s second consecutive opening-game World Cup defeat, Hansi Flick offered an honest appraisal. “With this defeat and no points we are under pressure, there is no question about this,” the head coach said. “We are to blame. We can only blame ourselves. We have to make sure we can come out of this. We need to be courageous.”

Spain, who thrashed Costa Rica 7-0 in the other Group E game, are next in a match they have to win to ensure control over their own destiny. “We’ll analyse this game as we always do. Of course Spain is a different team and we’ll have a different gameplan,” Flick said.

He brushed off Gündogan’s post-game claim that some Germany players did not want the ball. “The statements he made, it’s his opinion and he’s free to express it.”


Jamie Jackson at Khalifa International Stadium

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