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Ritsu Doan celebrates “the best day of my career” after Japan beat Germany 2-1

Japan’s players said they were inspired by Saudi Arabia’s shock win over Argentina on Tuesday as they caused another major upset at the World Cup with their epic victory over Germany in Doha.

The Japanese had seen the Saudis fall 1-0 down to defeat the mighty Messi and company and then did exactly the same, humiliating Hansi Flick’s men with two late goals.

Brighton’s Kaoru Mitoma called it the greatest day of his life, adding: “That moment was incredible for the team and for me.

“We saw Saudi Arabia against Argentina. “They won that game and we thought we could have a great game here. It inspired me and the team a lot.”

And he said they did better against Germany than they had hoped. “Our plan was a draw. Of course we wanted to win and that’s why this game was amazing. The fans, coaches, managers and with everyone’s help we made history.”

Real Sociedad winger Takefua Kubo said the sight of Saudi Arabia’s win gave Japan hope. “We wanted to go to our training session and saw it on the team bus. Your victory inspired us!’

And he added: “We are happy for them (Saudi) and I heard that today is a public holiday there, so maybe it will happen in Japan today!”

Ritsu Doan, who scored the equaliser, called it the “best day of my career” and added: “It was a special goal. I am very happy to play and score for the national team. I’m proud of myself, but it’s just one game and one goal. Now I have to aim to do the same in the next game.’

And he revealed that players always believed they could win. “Before the game we were confident that we could beat Germany. We respect how good they are and they had good chances in the box but maybe we were a bit luckier in the end.”

Captain Maya Yoshida, the former Southampton defender, added: “I’m very happy with the result, we did very well as a plan and made a lot of defensive blocks. The first goal we conceded wasn’t planned, but we tried to stay calm and solid. We knew there would be more chances and more space in the second half, especially from behind, but the substitutions brought the good result. Our strengths are teamwork and cohesion, we showed that today and are very happy about it.”

When asked what the reaction will be in Japan, he quipped, “I want to see my phone!”

But the German players were understandably shocked. Kai Havertz admitted afterwards that he still had a hard time coping with the defeat.

“The reason is difficult to explain just ten minutes after the game,” said the Chelsea striker.

“We conceded two goals in ten minutes, which is not good when we had the game in our hands. But it got out of our hands very quickly. We have to analyze that and try to do better on Sunday.”

And he also spoke of the fact that Germany’s players covered their mouths during the team photo in protest before the game. “It is important for us to make such a statement. We talked about the game and what we can do. I think it was right for us to show people that we try to help wherever we can. Of course FIFA makes it a lot easier for us, but we tried.”

And Julian Brandt, the Dortmund midfielder, said the dressing room was still in shock. “It was really quiet and we didn’t say much.

“Right now we have to think about the game and what happened, the mistakes. We’ll talk to each other quietly. After the game, people have a lot of emotions, some people want to cry, scream and scream. Sometimes it’s good to breathe and we have to analyze it because it’s not over yet. We now have two really tough games.

“This loss makes it harder to qualify. If you don’t win the first game, it’s the worst feeling. We have to keep going and improving. We can still qualify, why not?

“But today was a great opportunity for us to take a good position in the group. It is possible, anything is possible.”

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