The unfamiliar phrase “Germany under Japan” may soon become a reality: Japanese soccer is on the rise.

The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) released the world rankings for the men’s national soccer team on Nov. 30 (KST). South Korea, led by Jürgen Klinsmann, was ranked 23rd, up one spot from October. This is the fourth consecutive month the team has been ranked.

The team is third among Asian nations. Japan tops the Asian rankings at No. 17, followed by Iran at No. 21. In third place is South Korea, and in fourth place is Australia at #25. In fifth place in Asia is Saudi Arabia (57th).레모나토토 도메인

Japan’s rise is notable. Hajime Moriyasu’s Japan swept both Myanmar and Syria 5-0 in the second Asian qualifier for the 2026 FIFA North America Cup in November.

It was their eighth straight win, starting with a 6-0 thrashing of El Salvador in June. It is tied for the longest winning streak in the history of the Japanese national team. As a result of the victory, Japan’s FIFA ranking jumped to No. 17, surpassing South Korea’s previous best ranking of 1998. Japan’s previous best ranking was ninth.

It hasn’t just been against weak opponents either. Japan has beaten Peru (4-1), Germany (4-1), Turkiye (4-2), Canada (4-1), and Tunisia (2-0).

One of the highlights of the tournament was a huge win over Germany in September. Japan scored four unanswered goals to demolish the Germans in a friendly at the Volkswagen Arena in Germany. Junya Ito opened the scoring, followed by Ayase Ueda, Takuma Asano, and Ao Tanaka in the second half.

Germany had the majority of possession, but Japan had the momentum. The Japanese defended well against Germany’s attacks, forcing them to make mistakes with moment-to-moment strong forward pressure, organized passing, and quick counterattacks. It was a game dominated not only by the result, but also by the performance.

It was like a déjà vu of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Japan pulled off the “Miracle of Doha” by beating Germany 2-1 in the group stage of last year’s World Cup in Qatar.

As a result, the Japanese topped their group and advanced to the round of 16 with Spain. Germany, on the other hand, suffered a humiliating group stage exit for the second consecutive tournament after the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where they were stunned by South Korea.

The Germans even changed their head coach after the loss to Japan, but they are still struggling. Julian Nagelsmann, who replaced Hanji Flick, has also been shaking his head after back-to-back losses to Turkiye (2-3) and Austria (0-2). The hopes that were raised with a 3-1 win over the United States and a 2-2 draw with Mexico have been dashed.

Now, it’s looking increasingly likely that Japan will overtake Germany. “Japan’s FIFA ranking is 17th, which is close to 16th-ranked Germany! The Japanese national team has improved its ranking for the third consecutive month with an eight-game winning streak.”

The difference in FIFA ranking points between Germany and Japan is only 11 points. With 1620.19 points, Japan is closely followed by Germany with 1631.22 points. This was unthinkable for Germany, which had consistently been in the top 10.

It’s even more alarming because Germany is the host of UEFA Euro 2024. While the FIFA rankings are only one indicator, there’s a good chance they’ll be humiliated at home for the first time in 36 years. Euro 2024 will kick off next June and last for a month.

Conversely, it will be interesting to see how far Japan’s decline continues. Japan began a long-term project in 2005 with the promise of hosting and winning the World Cup in 2050. Of course, winning the World Cup in Japan is still more of a dream than a reality. But there’s no denying that Japanese soccer is growing at a frightening rate with a solid plan.

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