Japan upset mighty Germany

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Doha, Nov. 24: Substitutes Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano scored late goals Wednesday to give Japan a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Germany at the World Cup.

Ilkay Gündogan had given four-time champion Germany the lead with a first-half penalty. But Doan, who plays for German team Freiburg, pounced on a rebound to equalize in the 76th minute after Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer blocked a shot from Takumi Minamino.

Then Asano, who plays for German team Bochum, sprinted clear of Nico Schlotterbeck and beat Neuer from a narrow angle in the 83rd.

It was the first competitive meeting between the two nations.

Before the game, Germany’s players covered their mouths during the team photo in an apparent rebuke to FIFA following its decision to stop plans to wear armbands to protest discrimination in host nation Qatar.

Morocco hold Croatia 0-0 

Morocco held 2018 finalist Croatia to a 0-0 draw at the World Cup on Wednesday in another strong performance by a team from an Arab country.

Morocco’s promising performance came 24 hours after Saudi Arabia sparked the first World Cup in the Middle East into life by beating Lionel Messi’s Argentina in one of the biggest upsets in the tournament’s history.

Tunisia followed that up with a scoreless draw against European Championship semifinalist Denmark.

Morocco managed to stifle Croatia captain Luka Modric, who won the best player award at the last World Cup when he led his country to the final before losing to France.

Modric was announced as player of the match on Wednesday, a decision that was greeted by boos from Morocco fans who chanted and whirled scarves as they jumped up and down in the final minutes.

Paris Saint-Germain star Achraf Hakimi had the best chance for Morocco with a thumping second-half shot punched away with both fists by goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic.

The 37-year-old Modric is playing in his fourth and final World Cup, where he's looking to add a Croatia title to his trophy-laden career with Real Madrid. 

(AP)

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