After Saudi Arabia’s win over Argentina, Qatar 2022 saw not just another upset, but another come-from-behind upset with the supposed minnow upending the heavy favorite. Germany ahead in the first half on Wednesday via an IIkay penalty, but substitutes Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano struck in the last 15 minutes to turn the tie on its head.Japan’s 2-1 victory underscores just how shaky this Germany side have become, particularly when they appear in control.
Four years ago, Japan were on the verge of knocking out Belgium and advancing to the World Cup quarterfinals. This time, they began with arguably the biggest shock result they have ever garnered, over four-time world champions Germany. But their 2-1 win owes a lot to this side’s ability to remain calm and make the sort of substitutions that change games. Japan went from the counter-attacking approach of the first half to a far more intense pressing game in midfield and a hit-in-transition style that rattled Germany. I’m not sure they could have turned it around were it not for the five substitutes.