Japan stun Germany

Japan stun Germany

Holders France rally from a goal down to trounce Aus 4-1

Doha: Takuma Asano turned hero as Japan notched one of the biggest shocks in FIFA World Cup 2022 with a 2-1 win over Germany thanks to a scintillating second-half comeback in their World Cup Group E match at the Khalifa International Stadium on Wednesday.

Germany started well as midfielder Ilkay Gundogan scored a penalty in the 33rd minute to give them a 1-0 lead over Japan at halftime. Gundogan sent Japan's Shuichi Gonda the wrong way after the goalkeeper's challenge on David Raum awarded the spot kick to Germany. Forward Kai Havertz thought he had made it 2-0 before the break, but VAR ruled him offside, and Japan's Daizen Maeda had a goal disallowed as well.

The Germans had dominated the contest at the Khalifa International Stadium and took the lead with a 33rd-minute penalty from Ilkay Guendogan after Japan goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda had fouled wing-back, David Raum.

The second goal never came, however, and Japan's raids into the German half became more and more frequent, culminating in Doan's equaliser and a brilliant finish from Asano eight minutes later. The defeat was the third in a row in the opening match of a major championship for Germany after a loss to Mexico at the 2018 World Cup, when they bowed out in the first round as champions, and to France at Euro 2020.

A brace by Olivier Giroud and a goal each by Adrien Rabiot, and Kylian Mbappe helped defending champions France to carve out an emphatic 4-1 win over Australia in their Group D match .

The World Cup holders bounced back from early scare when Craig Goodwin gave Socceroos shock lead in the 9th minute but goals by Rabiot (27th minute), Giroud (32nd and 74th) and Mbappe (68) paved the way for full points for manager Didier Deschamps side.

France next face Denmark on November 26, who earlier in the day shared points with Tunisia in a goalless draw at Education City Stadium and wind up their group engagements against Tunisia on November 30.

Australia on the other hand take on Tunisia in the next round match on November 26 and end their group fixtures with a match against Denmark four days later.

The two teams had met in the last World Cup, with France narrowly beating Australia 2-1 in the group stage courtesy of an own goal and a penalty, and early goal had given the Australians a vision of a win this time around.

But that was not to be, as Mbappe and company rose to the occasion to begin their campaign of retaining the title in style.

Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann called the shots and in the absence of this year's Ballon d'Or winner Karim Benzema, who had to withdraw from the tournament after tearing a muscle in training, called the shots on the pitch.

With an embarrassment of riches, France did not fell much of a difference the absence of the likes of Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante, both members of the team that won the 2018 World Cup, both who were unable to travel to Qatar.

The Socceroos' stunned the French supporters into silence very early in the match with a brilliant goal as Craig Goodwin smashed the ball into the net in the ninth minute from the back post after a sweeping, sensational attacking move.

The European giants showed their class to come back in style to rip open the rival defense, scoring twice in five minutes either side of the 30-minute mark to go into the halftime break with a 2-1. Midfielder Rabiot scored France's first goal in the championship while Giroud added a second one five minutes later to give the lead to his team.

In the second half France added another two goals within three minutes to roar to a 4-1 lead.

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