Japan claimed a famous 2-1 victory over Germany at the World Cup on Wednesday, with second-half substitutes Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano scoring as part of a dramatic comeback in the tournament's Group E opener.
Doan, who plays for German club Freiburg, was in the right spot to slam home a rebound after fellow substitute Takumi Minamino whipped a ball into the goalmouth that German keeper Manuel Neuer could only parry.
Just minutes later, Asano, from Bundesliga side Bochum, latched onto a long ball and showed great control and strength to hold off a defender and smash it high into the net past the German stopper.
Doan's 75th-minute strike canceled out Ilkay Guendogan's 33rd-minute penalty, awarded after Japan goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda clumsily brought down defender David Raum.
"I went on to the pitch strongly determined, telling myself there's no one but me who can do it," said Doan, turning his attention to Japan's remaining group matches. "We won't get carried away and will play with strong determination again."
Asano netted in the 83rd minute to send the Japan fans in Qatar into raptures.
"I had decided I'd be taking shots whenever there was a chance. I had chances before that too and that mindset led to the winner," Asano said.
Captain Maya Yoshida said the Samurai Blue were inspired by fellow Asian side Saudi Arabia's stunning win against another traditional powerhouse, Argentina, the previous day.
"We changed the formation and also got the inspiration from Saudi Arabia coming back from 1-0 down (against Argentina) to achieve a big result," Yoshida said, while stressing that his team's job is far from done.
"I'm super happy but we've just won one game and the next game is important. We want to prepare well and clinch the qualification by beating Costa Rica."
Germany were totally dominant in the first 70 minutes of the game played in front of 42,608 fans at the Khalifa International Stadium in Al Rayyan, with Hajime Moriyasu's substitutions proving a masterstroke as Doan, Minamino and Asano all contributed to the game turning on its head.
The four-time world champions were a cut above for long stretches of the game, with only Daizen Maeda providing a momentary bright spot when he side-footed into the back of the net off a Junya Ito cross, before being ruled offside.
There were few other highlights for Japan in the first 45 minutes, with Maeda getting another chance just before the whistle when he met a Yuto Nagatomo cross, only to guide it wide with his head.
Germany's penalty was the result of a looping pass from Joshua Kimmich which found Raum in acres of space behind the Japanese defense. Raum turned and a pursuing Gonda crashed into the German's legs, leaving the referee no choice but to point to the spot.
Guendogan stepped up and sent Gonda diving to his left while putting the ball down the center.
Hansi Flick's men could have been two goals up at halftime, but Kai Havertz was denied when a video assistant referee check found him offside after he had gotten onto the end of a Serge Gnabry pullback.
Guendogan hit the post in the 60th minute as Germany repeatedly assailed the Japanese area, with Gonda constantly on edge as his side failed to retain the ball.
Gonda redeemed himself in the second half, however, making four virtually back-to-back saves in the 72nd minute before super subs Doan and Asano won the day for the men in blue.
"The entire team played as one with tenacity and that brought the win," said Moriyasu, who will prepare his side for their second group-stage match against Costa Rica on Sunday. "We'll look back at things that need to be looked at and aim to win the next game."
Later on Wednesday, Spain thumped Costa Rica 7-0, going to the top of the group on goal difference. Dani Olmo, Marco Asensio, Gavi, Carlos Soler and Alvaro Morata all scored, with Ferran Torres adding a double. Japan will face the 2010 World Cup champions in their final group game on Dec. 1.