Germany’s Group E opener against Japan on Wednesday afternoon was a highly entertaining match for the fans of both teams and the neutrals following it. End to end action from both sides saw quite a number of chances created and even a few goals ruled out for offside by the video assistant referee.
In the end, however, Japan came out on top, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat when they were one-nil down and close to losing the game. Thomas Muller has reflected on the afternoon’s proceedings and has stated that his team deserved to lose on the day.
“In terms of feeling, we actually played a good game over long stretches,” the Bayern Munich man began in his post match comments to journalists. “Of course, a good game in football is also characterised by the fact that you convert the chances and superiority into goals.
“The effectiveness at both ends didn’t match. It’s ridiculous that we are left with a defeat.
“But at the end of the day, when you see what we’re leaving behind us and how we conceded the goals at the end, you would say in football jargon that it’s not an undeserved loss.”
Manuel Neuer, who is teammates with Muller at club level and is also the captain of both teams, also lamented the loss. The Ballon d’Or finalist believed that Germany started the second half slowly and that was what led to Japan being able to match them.
“I’m totally frustrated and upset that we gave up the game,” Neuer said. “That was more than unnecessary. We created a lot of chances to score, so luck and bad luck go hand in hand.
“The imperative that we wanted to score the second goal was perhaps missing and we brought Japan back into the game.
“After the break, we didn’t have that flow of play any more, didn’t play with the self-confidence we had in the first half.
“It was a bit more difficult because they started higher, but we still have to play well.”
Germany’s defeat to Japan was the first time they suffered defeat after going ahead in the game since a shock quarter-final loss to Bulgaria at the 1994 World Cup. It was the end of a remarkable run of 25 games without losing after going ahead.
It was also their second straight loss in the first game of a World Cup, after losing the opening game of the 2018 tournament.
They now have the herculean task of bouncing back against Spain, who put seven past Costa Rica on Wednesday evening.