Roy Keane, Karen Carney and Ian Wright praised Japan’s determination and their quality as they beat Germany 2-1 at the World Cup.
It was the second upset in two days at Qatar, after Saudi Arabia pulled off a shock victory over Argentina.
Like Saudi Arabia, Japan also fought back from a goal down. Ilkay Gundogan put Hansi Flick’s men ahead from the spot just after half an hour, before Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano added goals late in the second half in order to secure three points in their opening Group E match.
Germany were hoping to avoid a repeat of their calamitous 2018 efforts but appeared unable to be ruthless in front of goal as they left chance after chance to go begging.
Speaking on ITV after the game, former Manchester United and Ireland player Keane praised Japan’s all-round efforts.
He said: Half time we said: stay in the game. The manager had good options off the bench. Guts, desire, they played with no fear.
“Two brilliant goals, well deserved.”
He picked out their ability to come back from a goal down against such a respected side.
“When you’re playing Germany, being a bit stronger, you’re 1-0 down, it’s a long way back. The manager deserves huge credit but he had to do it. To score two goals against Germany, you can’t begrudge them the victory, it was fantastic. There was never ever doubt about their determination but they’ve shown great quality.
“They’ve lifted their country.”
Ian Wright agreed with Keane, stating: “Brilliant substitute at half time, and the forwards, they realised we can still have a go.”
He was also disappointed with the losing side, observing that, “Germany [were] very slack in their finishing, not clinical enough , they should have put the game to bed.
“We’ve got to give credit to Doan for the way he took that goal. It wasn’t easy.
“They never seemed to stop believing.
“What we’re seeing is if you give these teams a chance they’re going to give you trouble, especially if they have the workrate and if you have that little bit of quality.”
Carney also lauded the team’s comeback. “They deserved it, in the second half they were the clinical team,” she said.