World Cup: Didier Hamann accuses Antonio Rudiger of ‘belittling’ Takuma Asano by changing his running style

Former Germany midfielder Didier Hamann has hit out at Antonio Rudiger for “belittling” Japan forward Takuma Asano during Germany’s stunning loss to Japan in their opening World Cup game on Wednesday.

Rudiger altered his running style as he raced to the ball alongside Asano in the 64th minute. The Real Madrid defender also looked to be laughing on camera immediately after the ball went out of play.

Asano scored Japan’s winning goal in the 83rd minute which now sees Germany run the risk of not getting out of the group with Spain – who beat Costa Rica 7-0 later in the day – up next on Sunday.

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Hamann has accused Rudiger of mocking Asano and says “there is only one team laughing now”.

Hamann said: “Rudiger lifts up his legs. You don’t belittle the opposition [like that] because it always comes back at some stage.

“I think it was very unprofessional. I think it was out of order. Arrogant. He was having a laugh, there’s only one team having a laugh now.

“The spirit of the game is about respecting the opposition, respecting your opponent. And he didn’t do it. I’ve got no explanation or excuse for it.”

Hamann criticised the Germany national team’s English-speaking Twitter account for appearing to find Rudiger’s running action humorous.

He wrote: “Shameful that you even post this. Belittling the opposition has never been in the spirit of the game.

“There’s only one out the two players laughing tonight and it ain’t Rudiger. Unprofessional and arrogant.”

Rudiger explained the reason for his running style in September, saying it made him quicker.

He told Sport1: “I do it because I think I’m faster that way. If people find it amusing, I like to laugh with them.”

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