Japan pulled off the second major upset of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar overnight.
The Asian nation defeated European giant Germany 2-1 in their Group E opener at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha.
It comes fresh off Saudi Arabia’s massive upset over Argentina, causing some early group stage chaos.
Die Mannschaft, winner of the 2014 World Cup, largely dominated proceedings with 26 shots on goal and over 70 per cent of possession, but the Blue Samurai was more efficient in the end.
Ilkay Gundogan drew first blood from the penalty spot in the 33rd minute after Japan goalkeeper Shuici Gonda had clumsily fouled left-back David Raum, who had floated forward.
Germany then had a close-range finish from Kai Havertz chalked off by VAR for offside after Japan had similarly seen a goal disallowed earlier.
But the Japanese wouldn’t be denied when substitute Ritsu Doan followed up a Manuel Neuer save to turn in an equaliser on 75 minutes.
Then it was another second-half sub in the form of Takuma Asano who made himself the hero. He produced a superb solo effort, controlling a lofted ball before advancing deep into the area and beating Neuer from a tight angle.
His heroic goal would win it for Hajime Moriyasu’s side in the 83rd minute.
Germany manager Hansi Flick admitted his side was undone by a more efficient opponent.
“Japan beat us with their efficiency,” said Flick.
“It’s bitterly disappointing. We had 78 per cent possession in the first half and had plenty of chances in the second that we failed to take.
“We can only blame ourselves - we have to make sure we can come out of this, we have to be courageous, we need the aggression in the game that’s necessary at a World Cup.”
In the other overnight games, Spain demolished Costa Rica 7-0 to top the Group E table.
Ferran Torres scored twice with Dani Olmo, Marco Asensio, Gavi, Carlos Soler and Alvaro Morata joining him on the scoresheet in the rout.
The Spaniards will take their hot scoring form into their next fixture against Germany in a crunch clash for the Germans on Monday morning (6am AEDT), as Japan look to make it two from two against the lowly Costa Ricans on Sunday night (9pm AEDT).
Earlier, Croatia and Morocco played out a 0-0 draw while Belgium beat Canada 1-0 in the other Group F clash through a first-half goal from Michy Batshuayi.
SEN is broadcasting every game of this year’s FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Tournament. Socceroos legend Archie Thompson will lead the SEN call team with all games live on SEN and the SEN App.