What Germany’s shock World Cup defeat to Japan could mean for Chelsea and Kai Havertz


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Japan produced the second World Cup in shock in two days after they beat 2014 champions Germany courtesy of a superb second half comeback. Ilkay Gundogan gave Hansi Flick’s side the lead with a first half penalty but Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano both found the back of the net in the space of eight second half minutes to hand Japan a memorable World Cup win.

Argentina also lost their opening group game in shocking fashion to Saudi Arabia, in a match that followed a very similar format to the Germans defeat to Japan, with the underdogs fighting back in the second half after a penalty gave the favourites the lead.

Both Argentina and Germany had opportunities to kill the game but a lack of conviction in front of goal came back to bite them as they are now both immediately on the backfoot to qualify out of the group having lost their first game.

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Kai Havertz thought he had given Germany some breathing room when he tapped home a second just before half time, but the linesman flagged for offside. At half time the ITV panel – which included Ian Wright – were discussing the key events from the first half and the former Arsenal man slammed Havertz for his role in the offside goal.

Wright said: “You can see so much and he’s so much closer to the goal. Now, Havertz just stay in between and behind the number, you don’t need to go you can just wait. He didn’t need to move there, just stay there, I can’t believe that’s happening at this level.”

Things don’t get any easier for Germany and Havertz though as their next group game, where they will likely need a victory, is against Spain. Luis Enrique’s side play Costa Rice on Wednesday afternoon in the other group E fixture.

Losing a World Cup opener is not unfamiliar to Germany though, after they lost to Mexico in the 2018 World Cup and despite a late win over Sweden, bowed out of the competition’s group stages after losing to South Korea.

A second successive exit on the World stage for Germany would be catastrophic, but it could potentially be seen as good news for Chelsea and Graham Potter.

The World Cup final is set to be played on December 18 while the Premier League returns eight days later on Boxing Day and an early exit for Germany would likely see Havertz return early to west London.

Departing Qatar with a number of weeks until the Premier League seasons restarts would give him more time to work with Potter and the Chelsea squad ahead of what will be a crucial 2023 for the club after a difficult final few weeks before the World Cup paused the season.


Karim Benze…

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