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Japan beats Germany in table tennis shock

Germany has been defeated by Japan in a major upset at the World Team Table Tennis Championships in China.

Germany, third at the last worlds, were outgunned by Japan, whose young charges fought back from one match down to stun the Europeans 3-1.

Teenage star Jun Mizutani said Japan had been relishing the chance to take on Germany, who are competing here without their champion, injured world number five Timo Boll.

“We have been training specifically to play Germany,” said Mizutani who lost his first encounter before firing back to clinch the fourth for Japan.

“I was nervous during my first game, I made mistakes and played badly but in the fourth game I had so many tactics going around my head,” Mizutani, 18 said.

German coach Richard Prause denied that Boll’s absence caused their defeat, crediting Japan for being more aggressive than his team.

The win pushes Japan, 14th at the last championships, to the top of their group with one round of matches left to play before the finals kick off at the Guangzhou Gymnasium.

In other games, China’s men took just under an hour to dispose of Austria, the Red Army using the encounter to hone their formidable skills ahead of the Olympics on home turf later this year.

UKRAINE

German football club ends partnership with Russia’s Gazprom

German football club Schalke 04 announced Monday it had prematurely ended its partnership with Russian gas giant Gazprom following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

German football club ends partnership with Russia's Gazprom

The deal between the second-tier German club and Gazprom had been due to run until 2025 with Schalke receiving around €9 million ($10 million) per year in sponsorship.

Had the Gelsenkirchen-based club won promotion back to the Bundesliga at the end of this season, the sponsorship figure would have risen to €15 million annually.

Schalke had already removed the Gazprom logo from their shirts for Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Karlsruhe.

In a statement, Schalke said their finances were “unaffected by this decision”.

“The club’s management is confident that it will be able to present a new partner in the near future.”

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Gazprom representative Matthias Warnig resigned from the club’s supervisory board last Thursday.

Hans-Joachim Watzke, interim president of the German Football Association (DFB), had already hinted there could be financial aid for Schalke if they split from Gazprom.

“If this requires the solidarity of other clubs in Germany to get them out of this situation, then we have to discuss how we can manage that,” Watzke told ZDF.

READ ALSO: Germany set to shut airspace to Russian planes on Sunday

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