Germany headed into the game as the clear favourites to pick up a win.
However, they would have to do so without key man Leroy Sane, who has picked up an injury and was only fit enough for the bench.
Germany do not have the best record at major tournaments in recent years, and with a clash vs Spain to come later this week, it was vital they got off to a good start vs Japan.
But when all was said and done, Germany fell to defeat.
Japan scored seven minutes in after Ito used his pace to create a crossing opening but Maeda was offside.
Germany, meanwhile, dominated the possession but struggled to carve out too many good chances, and the ones they did create were largely wasted by poor finishing.
However, Germany won a penalty following a rash challenge from the Japan keeper, which Ilkay Gundogan scored. Germany then had a goal ruled out in first-half injury time for offside.
Following the break, Japan took an attacker off for Takehiro Tomiyasu. This limited their attacking threat and allowed Germany to dominate even more, with Gundogan hitting the post 59 minutes in.
But Japan then brought on some more fresh legs in attack and their width was a nightmare for Germany to deal with.
Japan’s best chance and first shot on target came 72 minutes in, but Manuel Neuer made a superb save. They did find the back of the net three minutes later, though, with Ritsu Doan slotting in after a deflection from Neuer.
Japan continued to overload Germany’s wide areas and were able to grab a second 83 minutes in.
Germany player ratings
- Manuel Neuer (5) - Did not have to make a save until the 72nd minute, but it was a great save. Made another good stop minutes later but he parried the ball straight to Doan for the equaliser.
- Niklas Sule (6) - Started at right-back but tucked inside and generally played as the right-sided centre-back in a three. He looked solid in this role but did not offer much going forward.
- Antonio Rudiger (5.5) - Rudiger was a solid presence at the back, often cleaning up loose balls and mistakes from Schlotterbeck in the first half. But his marking was awful for Germany’s second.
- Nicolas Schlotterbeck (5) - He struggled to deal with the pace of Japan’s right-hand side and gave away the ball a few times.
- David Raum (7) - Was pushed further forward throughout the match and this allowed the pace Ito to get in behind on numerous occasions. However, he did bring a serious attacking threat down the German left and won them a penalty 31 minutes in.
- Joshua Kimich (6) - Produced an excellent ball to Raum before he won the penalty.
- Ilkay Gundogan (7) - Scored from the spot to put Germany in front.
- Serge Gnabry (5) - Was often wasteful in possession, taking on shots in poor positions when a pass was the better option.
- Thomas Muller (6.5) - Linked play well with a number of key passes but failed to test the Japan keeper himself.
- Jamal Musiala (7) - A bright showing from the teenager who caused Japan issues with his quick feet and ability to dance between players.
- Kai Havertz (5.5) - Pressed well from the front but did not offer much of a goalscoring threat.
- Jonas Hoffman (5)
- Leon Goretzka (5)
- Mario Gotze (4)
- Niclas Füllkrug (4)
- Youssoufa Moukoko (N/A)
Japan player ratings
- Shūichi Gonda (3.5)
- Hiroki Sakai (5)
- Kou Itakura (6.5)
- Maya Yoshida (5)
- Yuto Nagatomo (5.5)
- Ao Tanaka (5)
- Wataru Endo (4.5)
- Junya Ito (6)
- Daichi Kamada (5)
- Takefusa Kubo (5)
- Daizen Maeda (4.5)
- Takehiro Tomiyasu (5)
- Kaoru Mitoma (6)
- Takuma Asano (6)
- Ritsu Doan (6.5)
- Takumi Minamino (5)