Roy Keane has hit out at Germany’s “schoolboy” defending as the 2014 World Cup winners were stunned in another major upset in Qatar following Saudi Arabia’s triumph over Argentina on Tuesday. Hansi Flick’s side, who are among the favourites to lift the trophy, were leading 1-0 in the second half through Ilkay Gundogan’s first-half penalty before collapsing to the Asian underdogs, who more than deserved their victory after showing immense spirit to fight their way back into the game.
But Germany will be kicking themselves for the way they let this match get away from them, having enjoyed large periods of dominance.
Chelsea forward Kai Havertz thought he’d made it 2-0 before the break – only to be denied by the linesman’s flag.
The excellent Jamal Musiala also tore Japan’s defence apart on several occasions but he couldn’t find the target, lashing the ball over the bar on two separate occasions.
Japan goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda was forced into several smart saves to keep his side in the game before Ritsu Doan levelled things up in the 75th minute.
Things would get even better for Japan though when former Arsenal striker Takuma Asano raced through on goal on the counter-attack before controlling brilliantly and smashing home from the tightest of angles.
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“But some teams park the bus, you sit in a low block. Sometimes you don’t have an option, you just have to go back but there was still that threat. The manager had to sort that, there was players high up the pitch.
“I think the bravery from this team today is where I take my hat off to them.”
Ian Wright had also pointed out Niklas Sule’s crazy decision to drop back from the free-kick – playing goalscorer Asano onside.
“Here, he is at fault here because this is just a free-kick. You’re not meant to see a goal like the second goal Japan scored,” said the former Arsenal striker, who called out the Borussia Dortmund centre-back for the costly lapse in concentration.
“Watch Sule at the top of the picture, he has now dropped in and kept him [Asano] onside.
“But from here, this ball travelling as far as it has. Look at this touch, that’s quality and then bang – the finish. Sule doing that and him going in and finishing it, they deserved that.”
Karen Carney was also critical of Neuer, despite praising Asano’s clinical nature on the break after effectively making something out of nothing.
She added: “I don’t want to take anything away from that touch, that touch is phenomenal.
“But he’s got to come out and encroach, he should not be getting beat from there. But I don’t want to take anything away from Asano, it’s a brilliant touch and having the courage to run in behind.
“The defending is poor but I really don’t want to take anything away from him because that is world class.”
Germany are now extra pressure to deliver on Sunday, when they face Spain in another difficult contest.