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Japan beat Germany 2-1 in World Cup shock

Japan stunned Germany 2-1 in their World Cup opener on Wednesday, punishing the four-time champions for not taking their chances after they dominated the first…

Japan stunned Germany 2-1 in their World Cup opener on Wednesday, punishing the four-time champions for not taking their chances after they dominated the first half.

The German team covered their mouths for the team photo before the match in a powerful protest against FIFA’s decision to ban rainbow-themed armbands.

Hansi Flick’s team came to Qatar under huge pressure to avoid the disaster of 2018, when they failed to make it out of the group stage in Russia as holders.

They took the lead through a first-half penalty from Ilkay Gundogan and should have been out of sight after creating a host of chances.

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But Japan hung on and equalised through substitute Ritsu Doan in the 75th minute.

Takuma Asano then completed a remarkable turnaround eight minutes later, smashing the ball home to send the boisterous Japanese fans wild.

Germany’s World Cup future is now on the line, with games to come in Group E against Spain and Costa Rica.

Japan are eyeing a place in the knockout round after a dramatic comeback that scarcely looked possible at the end of the first half.

Meanwhile, Morocco held Croatia to a 0-0 draw in their opening game of the World Cup, producing a spirited display against the 2018 runners-up led by Luka Modric.

Backed by Qatar’s large Moroccan community at the Al Bayt Stadium, the Atlas Lions followed up north African rivals Tunisia’s strong performance against dark horses Denmark a day earlier to frustrate Croatia.

However, the last match of the day was a one way traffic affair as 2010 champions, Spain mauled Costa Rica 7-0 following a brace by youngster Ferran Torres and a goal each by Dani Olmo (11), Marco Asension (21), Gavi (74), Carlos Soler (90) and Alvaro Morata (90+2).

Spain were mindful of the shock defeats suffered by Argentina and Group E rivals Germany against lower opposition in their opening matches and they tormented Costa Rica from the start, going 3-0 up after little more than 30 minutes.