They are four time world champions. Runners-up also four times. However, Germany has never faced Japan in the World Cup. And Japan has not yet passed the second round of the World Cup.
Germany and Japan have played two friendlies despite never meeting in the World Cup. Germany beat Japan 3-0 in 2004. In the other match in 2006, two teams drew 2-2. German captain Neuer therefore respects Japan. Then again just before the match Bayern suffered a big shock losing star Leroy Sane. This winger is unable to play today’s match due to knee injury. Confirming his absence, the German Football Association tweeted, ‘Sane was unable to attend our last training session. He is not available for the first match. ‘
Eight Japanese footballers play in Germany’s Bundesliga. They know all the opponents well. Because of this, Japan is not afraid of Germany. At the press conference, Japanese forward Takuma Asano was confident, ‘Asian teams are far behind compared to European and Latin teams. But there is nothing to fear. You never know what will happen. It’s the World Cup. ‘
Only six of Japan’s 26 footballers play in the domestic league. The rest are all in Europe. Japan is therefore more confident than before. Arsenal’s Japanese defender Takehiro Tomiyasu said, ‘We are realistic but there is nothing to show Germany too much respect. Our team has changed. Most of the team’s players play in various European leagues. We will use that experience. ‘
Germany became the first team after the host Qatar to secure the World Cup this time. However, Hansi Flick’s side have won only two of their last eight matches. They finished third in their group with four draws in six games in the Nations League. The only win was against Italy. In preparation for the World Cup, Oman has also lost sweat. They won 1-0 with Niklas Fulkrog’s goal in the 80th minute. However, young star Jamal Musiala wanted to play independently in the World Cup, ‘There is no pressure on me. I want to play the first match independently. German legend Lothar Matthaus praised Jamal as ‘the new Messi’. However, he is embarrassed by such a comparison, ‘comparing myself with Messi is a bit difficult. I actually want to be known by my own name. ‘
Bayern forward Thomas Muller has been sidelined for most of the new season with injury. He regained fitness before the first match. Muller won the Golden Boot by scoring 5 goals in the 2010 World Cup. He also scored 5 goals in the 2014 World Cup. With 10 goals and 6 assists in 16 World Cup matches, the star has a chance to match Miroslav Klose’s record of 16 goals. Müller, however, is not thinking about these, ‘We are here to win the World Cup, not to build personal milestones. ‘ AFP