VETERAN PUNDIT AND FORMER IRISH FOOTBALLER Liam Brady has claimed that Japan's comeback against Germany on Wednesday night was "one of the best second half performances he'd ever seen.”
Germany who were well fancied to win their opening game against the Japanese took the lead through a first half Ilkay Guendogan penalty.
Germany went on to dominate the first half, but thanks to help from goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda Japan held their nerve to keep the score to a single goal.
The game turned on its head in the second half when Manuel Neuer saved from former Liverpool player Takumi Minamino, and substitute Ritsu Doan stunned the Germans with the follow-up.
— The Athletic | Football (@TheAthleticFC) November 23, 2022
Japan were in dreamland and it would get better moments later when slack defending from Nico Schlotterbeck and Niklas Süle allowed Takuma Asano to race into acres of space from a long diagonal freekick.
The Bochum player and Schlotterbeck battled for the ball, but the Japanese player managed to slam the ball past Neuer from a tight angle to make it 2-1.
Seven added minutes went up on the board after full time, but Japan held on to record another huge upset at this year's World Cup.
This was the second upset of the tournament. It came a day after Argentina were shocked by Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.
Brady speaking after the game on RTE claimed Japan's fightback was 'one of the best second half performances I’ve ever seen.'
“Germany got overrun by this Japanese team in the second half,” said Brady.
"Their spirit and their work-rate was absolutely unbelievable. It was one of the best performances that I’ve seen in a World Cup.
“They went in 1-0 down at half-time, it could have been two or three but they kept themselves in the game.
“The coach said ‘let’s push up’ and they all pushed up, they put the Germans under pressure, the Germans couldn’t handle it, the Japanese were fitter, they ran more and they absolutely deserved it.
“It was one of the best second half performances I’ve ever seen.”
His co-pundit Didi Hamann also had his say on Germany. Haman, who played 59 times for his country admitted he didn't fancy Hansi Flick's side to lift the Jules Rimmet trophy next month.
Then world champions Germany also lost their opening game of the 2018 World Cup to Mexico. They never made it out of that group after a shock defeat to South Korea in the final game.
Spain and Germany will now face each other on Sunday. Spain beat Costa Rica 7-0 on Wednesday.
A defeat for Germany against Luis Enrqiues's side could be catastrophic for the 2014 World Champions.
"I didn't fancy this Germany team before the start of the tournament, and obviously there is Spain to come now, if you don't beat them it's probably out of your hands in the third game," said Hamann alongside Brady.
"I'm not saying one player makes the difference, but the fact that he didn't take [Mats] Hummels, he took [Armel] Bella-Kotchap - who's a very good young player - he took a player from Leipzig, Klostermann, who has been injured for four months, and it just didn't make sense to me."
That game starts at 7pm on Sunday. It promises to be another cracker.
🇩🇪 1-2 🇯🇵
Japan outfought Germany says Didi Hamann. Liam Brady: "It was one of the best second-half performances I've ever seen."
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— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) November 23, 2022