Football never ceases to surprise. Shocks are very much a part of the game and the ongoing World Cup is having its fair share. The football world was shaken when Saudi Arabia beat Argentina with Lionel Messi and all 2-1 in their opening match on Tuesday. But Japan served another favorite Germany, the same cold meal.
It was indeed a game of two halves as the Germans totally dominated the first half and could have easily put the game to bed. Ilkay Gundogan pulled the strings in midfield alongside Joshua Kimmich as the Germans ran the show.
But the Japanese manager rang the changes in the second half to turn the game on its head. The Asian nation played the perfect game, creating several good chances and converting two late on to beat the Germans 2-1
Gundogan had put his team ahead through a well-taken penalty on 33 minutes. He has been a very dependable source of goals for Die Mannschaft with five of his last six goals for the country coming from the penalty spot.
In fact, he is currently the top scorer for the German national team in almost two years.
But it took just eight minutes after being withdrawn in the 67 minute for Japan to get an equaliser. Gundogan watched on as the Asian side added salt in the wound by grabbing the winning goal late in the game.
One clear lesson from the game was how much the City midfielder is still important to the national team. His experience and control of the midfield show just why Pep Guardiola still rates him very highly. The City boss has started him in 10 out of 14 Premier League matches this term.
However with his contract set to expire at the end of the season, it remains to be seen if City will give him a further extension to the deal. The player himself has remained coy on the situation. His simple answer when asked if you will extend his stay at the club has been “We will see.”
“Right now, it’s really just about focusing on the new season.”
With Guardiola extending his contract to stay for another few years at the Etihad Stadium, it’s likely he will want his captain, who was his very first signing when he joined the club, to continue with him for at least another year. But of course, a lot can happen between now and the end of the season. It may depend on several factors including the player’s personal decision on his future.