World Cup 2022 briefing: Germany look to silence critics but Spain loom | World Cup 2022


The pressure is on Germany’s Hansi Flick.
The pressure is on Germany’s Hansi Flick. Photograph: Gareth Bumstead/Reuters

The main event

Germany’s shock defeat to Japan was a strange game to parse. Hansi Flick’s men were probably the better side during the first half – they had the lion’s share of possession and chances – and yet Daizen Maeda would have given the Japanese an early lead from an onside position had he showed just a modicum of patience, then very nearly equalised Ilkay Gündogan’s 31st-minute penalty with a header that sailed inches wide on the stroke of half-time.

The second half was similarly – that is…

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