Germany Stunned 4-1 by Japan in Euro 2024 Build-Up
The Euro 2024 host nation, Germany, suffered a stunning 4-1 defeat at home to Japan in an international friendly, further deepening the crisis they find themselves in just nine months before the continental tournament.
Germany, a four-time world champion, has been struggling, and this recent loss, the third in a row, has cast doubt on the future of their coach, Hansi Flick. Their performance has been marred by a string of poor results, with only four wins in their last 17 international matches.
Their next challenge is to face the World Cup finalists, France, on Tuesday.
Germany's captain, Ilkay Gundogan, candidly admitted, "We have to be honest and say that Japan were better." He acknowledged that they made too many individual mistakes and that they are currently not on par with teams like Japan. The trend of their recent performances speaks for itself, and they need to accept their current reality.
Despite a strong start, Germany lacked a clear plan and displayed a lack of confidence and energy on the pitch. They were riddled with errors, allowing Japan to dominate while facing the disapproval of their home fans, who booed and whistled.
Japan took the lead in the 11th minute as Junya Ito capitalized on a low cross at the far post, silencing the home crowd. Germany managed to level the score in the 19th minute with a superb passing sequence, culminating in a left-footed finish from Leroy Sane.
However, Japan quickly regained their lead, just three minutes later, with forward Ayase Ueda capitalizing on another move down the right wing and wrong-footing keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Ter Stegen prevented further damage by denying Ueda on another occasion when he charged through after a defensive error.
Japan continued to threaten in the second half, with Ter Stegen making critical saves in the 70th minute, palming Takuma Asano's close-range shot wide and stopping Kaoru Mitoma's rebound attempt.
Asano finally sealed Japan's victory in the 90th minute by slotting in a goal. Japan added another goal in stoppage time with Ao Tanaka's header, securing a convincing win over Germany for the second time in a row.