Mitoma shines as Japan stun Germany

Blue Samurai come from behind to beat Hansi Flick's team 2-1.

By Matt Bishop • 23 November 2022

By Nigel Keene
Kaoru Mitoma in action during Japan's famous win in Qatar.

Kaoru Mitoma came off the bench and made a huge impact as Japan caused a massive upset at the World Cup by beating Germany 2-1 in Doha.

Mitoma watched on from the bench in the first half as Japan fell behind to Ilkay Gundogan’s 33rd minute penalty, but replaced Yuto Nagatomo with just over half an hour remaining and helped turn the match on its head.

Playing out wide on the left, the 25-year-old was heavily involved in the Blue Samurai equaliser, taking on Niklas Sule before chipping a pass to Takumi Minamino inside the box. The former Liverpool forward saw his shot saved by Manuel Neuer, but Ritsu Doan fired the rebound into the roof of the net.

By Nigel Keene
Kaoru Mitoma launches another attack for Japan.

The stunning turnaround was then complete seven minutes from time, as Takuma Asano did brilliantly to control a long ball over the top before beating Neuer at his near post.

Germany rallied and when a corner fell at the feet of Thomas Muller 12 yards from goal in the 89th minute, the Bayern Munich legend looked likely to level, but Mitoma was there to put in a crucial tackle and hack the ball clear.

There was still enough time for the four-time World Champions to have two half-hearted penalty appeals turned down, before Japan and Mitoma held on for a famous victory.

More World Cup action with an Albion theme continues on Wednesday afternoon and into the evening, as Rob Sanchez's Spain take on Costa Rica at 4pm before Leandro Trossard and Belgium face Canada at 7pm.