Key points
  • Germany’s players have covered their mouths in support of diversity and tolerance.
  • Germany’s Interior Minister Nancy Faeser sported the armband as she chatted with the football administrator.

Late goals by Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano earned Japan an incredible 2-1 comeback victory over Germany in the

on Wednesday.

The four-times champions had looked to be cruising to victory via an Ilkay Gundogan penalty but paid a fatal price for missing chances.

The shock result was a repeat of their 2018 World Cup nightmare when, as defending champions, they lost their opener to Mexico and, after another defeat by South Korea, were condemned to a group-stage exit.

WCup Germany Japan Soccer

Japan celebrates after a goal by Takuma Asano during the World Cup group E soccer match between Germany and Japan, at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar, on Wednesday, 23 November 2022. Source: AAP / AP

“This is a huge disappointment and frustrating,” Germany captain Manuel Neuer said.

“We made the opponent strong. The final desire made the difference. Japan believed they could win while we thought we could preserve the lead.”

‘Time to dance’

Coach Hansi Flick said: “It is brutally disappointing. We are annoyed we lost the game because we had the chances. We have to look forward. We have the chance for six points”.

“I believe it is a historic moment, a historic victory,” said Japanese manager Hajime Moriyasu.

Japan’s Maya Yoshida said: “This is the beauty of football, sometimes it happens! Now the spotlight is on our side, it’s time to dance.”

Ahead of their game against Japan, the German players had lined up for a pre-match team photo with their hands over their mouths as the row over FIFA’s threat of sanctions over the “OneLove” armband continued.

All Germany players took part in the gesture in front of dozens of photographers on the pitch ahead of kickoff after world soccer body FIFA had threatened seven European teams with sanctions if they wore the armband symbolising diversity and tolerance.

Germany’s Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, sitting next to FIFA President Gianni Infantino in the stands, sported the armband as she chatted with the football administrator.

Earlier, she had criticised FIFA, saying the threat of sanctions was a mistake and not acceptable behaviour.

“This is not alright, how federations are being put under pressure,” Ms Faeser said during a visit to a German FA event in Doha before the game.

“In today’s times it is incomprehensible that FIFA does not want people to openly stand for tolerance and against discrimination. It does not fit in our times and it is not appropriate towards people.”

A statement from the German Football Association (DFB) said: “We wanted to use our captain’s armband to take a stand for values that we hold in the Germany national team: diversity and mutual respect. Together with other nations, we wanted our voice to be heard.

“It wasn’t about making a political statement – human rights are non-negotiable. That should be taken for granted, but it still isn’t the case. That’s why this message is so important to us. Denying us the armband is the same as denying us a voice. We stand by our position.”

Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar.

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