Germany vs Japan, World Cup 2022: protests expected over OneLove armband

Joshua Kimmich - Germany vs Japan live: score and latest updates from World Cup Group E - Fifa
Joshua Kimmich - Germany vs Japan live: score and latest updates from World Cup Group E - Fifa

12:03 PM

Germany's team news: Manuel Neuer plays in four consecutive tournaments

Germany's Manuel Neuer starts in goal and becomes the first goalkeeper of his country to play in four consecutive tournaments.

Hansi Flick opts to start with forward Kai Havertz as their target man, leaving centre forwards Niclas Fuellkrug and teenager Youssoufa Moukoko on the bench.

He's also included Thomas Mueller, who has not played 90 minutes since September due to injures.

Manuel Neuer - Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
Manuel Neuer - Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

12:00 PM

Japan's starting XI

Japan: Shuichi Gonda, Hiroki Sakai, Ko Itakura, Maya Yoshida, Junya Ito, Yuto Nagatomo, Wataru Endo, Ao Tanaka, Takefusa Kubo, Daichi Kamada, Daizen Maeda.

11:59 AM

Team news! Germany's starting XI

Germany: Manuel Neuer, David Raum, Antonio Ruediger, Niklas Suele, Nico Schlotterbeck, Joshua Kimmich, Ilkay Guendogan, Jamal Musiala, Thomas Mueller, Serge Gnabry, Kai Havertz.

11:58 AM

Germany head coach Hansi Flick on his opponents

I have to out myself as a bit of a fan of Japanese football. They are really doing it well.

We see the quality they have in the Bundesliga with Eintracht Frankfurt's (Daichi) Kamada playing a great season or (Wataru) Endo who is one of the best midfielders in the Bundesliga.

It is a very big task but we go into the match prepared and look forward to it.

11:56 AM

One hour until kick-off

Japan fans 1 - Alex Grimm/Getty Images
Japan fans 1 - Alex Grimm/Getty Images
Japan fans 2 - Maja Hitij/Getty Images
Japan fans 2 - Maja Hitij/Getty Images

11:51 AM

Share your match predictions

11:51 AM

Joshua Kimmich: "It's not our fault where the World Cup takes place"

Speaking yesterday, he said:

I would like to be able to look forward to a World Cup, even if it takes place here.

We've talked a lot about the fact the World Cup was awarded here. That was 12 years ago, when I was 15, and now I somehow always have to comment on it. I don't know if it's always justified.

But we also have to manage this balancing act of focusing on the sporting side.

I mean regardless of where the World Cup is taking place, it's a World Cup, it's the biggest competition for us footballers there is. It's a huge childhood dream to play tomorrow and yet somehow I have the feeling that it's always being talked down a bit or that you can't really look forward to it.

11:47 AM

Fan protest during the game between Borussia Dortmund and VfL Bochum earlier this month

Germany's buildup to the tournament in Qatar has been overshadowed by fan protests at home - Ina Fassbender/AFP
Germany's buildup to the tournament in Qatar has been overshadowed by fan protests at home - Ina Fassbender/AFP

11:43 AM

Germany's Interior Minister Nancy Faeser on Fifa's decision to ban the armband

Faeser, during a visit to a German FA event in Doha, said:

This is not alright, how federations are being put under pressure.

These were not the security guarantees I had received from (Qatar's) Interior Minister (during her earlier visit in November).

In today's times it is incomprehensible that Fifa does not want people to openly stand for tolerance and against discrimination. It does not fit in our times and it is not appropriate towards people.

11:38 AM

German vice-chancellor backs armband protest at World Cup

Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck counselled the German men's national team to wear the "OneLove" armband banned by Fifa as they prepare to face Japan.

Speaking with German public broadcaster ZDF on Tuesday evening, he said:

I am not the media advisor of the DFB (German football association) and I am not Manuel Neuer but the opportunity is there.

I suppose you have to wear the armband now. I would maybe take my chances.

I would be interested to see what the referee does when someone with the armband comes over.

11:35 AM

Rewe Group cancels sponsorship deal with Germany

Rewe Group, one of Germany's major grocery chain, has ended its $15 million sponsorship with the German Football Association over its decision to ban players from wearing 'OneLove' armbands.

Telegraph Sport reported yesterday that the German Football Association (DFB) has warned Fifa it faces court action over the OneLove armband ban.

10:51 AM

Hansi Flick's rebuilding project gets its first real test

By Mike McGrath in Doha 

As one of the survivors of Germany’s darkest day at the World Cup, Joshua Kimmich is clear where the motivation lies at Khalifa International Stadium today. They were knocked out at the group stages four years ago in Russia and the next stage of their rebuilding project will be tested against Japan.

Kimmich, now 27, is in the minority as players who were in Kazan when they were eliminated at the first hurdle for the first time since 1938, with Son Heung-min providing the iconic image of tapping into an empty net to send Joachim Löw’s team home.

“The motivation is huge after four and half years. We know that was nothing, that was terrible what happened. We’ve had quite the wait,” Kimmich said. “It will be very important to start with a good game. The first game is very important, we’ve seen that in previous tournaments.  At the Euro we lost the first game and we didn’t win. I hope that in this game we will be winning.”

Under Hansi Flick, more than half of the squad have been replaced but there is a backbone of experience from the likes of Manuel Neuer, Ilkay Gundogan and Thomas Muller, plus the fearless youth of players such as Jamal Musiala, who put England to the sword during the last international break.

Kimmich will set the tempo of their game as their defensive midfielder and there is also a place for Mario Gotze, the hero of 2014 when they won the trophy that slipped through their fingers four years later. It is not only the Eintracht Frankfurt forward, 30, that reminds Flick of eight years ago when he was assistant coach with Die Mannschaft.

“I was part of the team in 2014, (Lukas) Podolski, (Mats) Hummels, (Philipp) Lahm back then. It was the same back then. Before the tournament people were saying they haven’t won big titles yet,” said Flick.

“This generation is characterised by the fact they are very focused on the game and always push their limits. They are players who always try to get better every time they step on the pitch. It’s wonderful to see as a coach.”

Flick was asked whether the aim was to win the tournament, or to merely get out of their group this time around. “At least that is the goal, to win. Over the past couple of days we had great practice sessions and satisfying training before the game,” he said.

He is without Leroy Sane though, one of his exciting forwards who were not at Russia, but has Serge Gnabry pushing for a place.

“All great footballing nations have the goal of getting the title. That is why we are all here, we are trying to be the most successful we can be and wherever you have that pressure is when you deserve it. We have to push our limits and that is something that you can expect from the players as they have enormous qualities.”