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HomeWorld NewsJapan's Doan enjoys responding to Germany's taunts at the World Cup

Japan’s Doan enjoys responding to Germany’s taunts at the World Cup

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DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Just wait, Ritsu Doan thought. Just wait.

The Japanese midfielder, who plays for German club Freiburg, had to grit his teeth when he heard that his team would be easy opponents for Germany in the World Cup..

“I listened to their talks with a fake smile on my face and in my heart,” Doan, 24, said Thursday after sparking a remarkable comeback and arguably the biggest result in Japan World Cup history. the previous night.

After coming on in the 71st minute, Doan needed just four minutes to cancel out Ilkay Gündogan’s first-half penalty with the equalizer, then watched teammate Takuma Asano score the winner in the 83rd for Japan’s victory by 2-1.

“I thought it was the best thing I could do as a man to shut them up by winning, so I’m glad I won and I can do that,” Doan said.

The upset victory over the four-time champions triggered wild celebrations from the sizable contingent of Japanese fans at the Khalifa International Stadium and sparked outpourings of joy from fans watching the goals on giant screens from home.

“I think all of Japan was very excited,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said. “I was able to watch the game on TV and it was a great victory.”

Kishida paid tribute to “team power, individual power and coach’s direction.”

Japan striker Daizen Maeda said it was “the happiest moment I’ve had in my football career.”

As Japan celebrated what coach Hajime Moriyasu called “a historic moment, a historic victory” immediately after the game, the former midfielder was more cautious the next day as he tried to refocus the team for the next game against Costa Rica on Sunday. . .

“I keep saying that we shouldn’t be too happy or sad about the results,” the coach said on Thursday. “The result against Germany is already in the past, so we will do everything possible to prepare to win the next game. We will do what we have always been doing and we will be ready for the next game”.

Costa Rica’s World Cup campaign began with a 7-0 rout of Spain.

In theory, Japan can even book their place in the second round with a win on Sunday, contingent on a favor from Spain against Germany.

Japan is playing its seventh consecutive World Cup and Moriyasu previously said that the team’s goal is to reach the quarterfinals for the first time.

Even Doan has tempered his enthusiasm as he looks forward to the challenges ahead.

“We haven’t changed history yet, but I think it was a historic game so I celebrated with all my teammates yesterday,” Doan said. “But as of today, I’ve really changed my mind and I’m preparing for the Costa Rica game, so I’ll be careful not to be cocky.”

Japanese defender Yuto Nagatomo received a deluge of calls and emails from friends and family after the game.

“So I really feel like this was a historic win,” Nagatomo said. “I will be happy if this helps cheer up football again and improve the popularity of the sport. We’ve only won one game, so I want to focus on the next game.”

Whatever happens for the rest of the tournament, Nagatomo said the win over Germany was “one of the best experiences in my football career.”

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AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup Y https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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