JAPAN’s smarter strategy of not starting with their own European players against Germany contributed significantly to their sensational 2-1 victory over four-time champions Germany, says Jita Singh.
The Singaporean award-winning manager was surprised that Takumi Minamino (Monaco), Takuma Asano (Bochum), Kaoru Mitoma (Brighton), Takehiro Tomiyasu (Arsenal) and Ritsu Daon (Freiburg) were absent from the starting lineup.
“They only came in the second half when Japan was 1-1 up. This could be the manager’s cutting edge strategy,” said Jita, who watched the game with his family at the Khalifa Stadium. “The game has changed and Japan has matched the highly regarded Germans. Indeed, Daon scored the equalizer and Asano grabbed the winner.
TRIUMPH OF TEAMWORK
To add to the ironic storyline, both Doan and Asano play in the German Bundesliga (Germany’s professional league).
Japan head coach Hajime Moriyasu praised: “The players came together as a team, we prepared well and stayed there, and that’s what led to the win.”
Now Germany’s World Cup future is once again at stake, with Group ‘E’ matches against Spain and Costa Rica. And they could be kicked out!
“We made things too easy for Japan. I don’t know if there has ever been an easier goal scored in a World Cup,” Germany coach Hansi Flick told German television network ARD. “This shouldn’t happen to us.”
The stark truth is that Germany never achieved their crushing dominance after dominating the first half, says former Home United manager Robert Albert, now Indonesia manager Persib Bandung. “They paid the most embarrassing price,” he added.
The German team, rather cheekily, even covered their mouths for their team photo before the match in a loud protest against Fifa’s decision to ban rainbow-themed bracelets.
Flick’s side took the lead through a first-half penalty from Ilkay Gundogan and should have been out of sight after creating a string of chances.
But Japan’s courageous comeback was simply out of this world in the clearest signal that Asia is waking up (following Saudi Arabia’s surprising 2-1 victory over Argentina earlier in the week).
* Suresh Nair is an award-winning sportscaster who is also a qualified international coach and instructor of international referees
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