Japan won plaudits for a World Cup shock and fans cleaning stadiums

Japan bid farewell to the World Cup after their World Cup last 16 penalty shoot-out loss to Croatia on Monday, but the team and its fans left a lasting memory that earned the Asian country plenty of plaudits in Qatar and around the watching world.

In the early days of Qatar 2022, Japan's stunning and surprising 2-1 comeback win against Germany helped establish the idea that this tournament could be a showcase for football's power on another continent beyond Europe and South America – an unprecedented World Cup. won by a team from outside the two continents, neither even competing in the final.

After the win over Germany, the Japanese players cleaned up their locker room, making it look tidy. Acknowledgments in Arabic and Japanese were also left on the table, according to Reuters.

"After historic win against Germany in #FIFAWorldCup on Match Day 4... @jfa_samuraiblue left their locker room at Khalifa International Stadium... Clean," world soccer governing body FIFA said in a tweet, with a picture of Japan's dressing room.

Japan narrowly lost their second World Cup Group E match to Costa Rica, but then stunned Spain – one of the favorites to win the tournament – with a second comeback win 2-1.

The result left Samurai Blue top of the group – a result that no one could have predicted before the World Cup – ahead of Spain and Germany, who exited the tournament despite winning 4-2 against Costa Rica.

Incredibly Japan only enjoyed 26% possession in the games against Germany and only 17% against Spain.

Japan's winning goal against Spain also gave fans of the beautiful game one of the biggest talking points of the World Cup – did the ball cross the goal line before Kaoru Mitoma's cutback pass to Ao Tanaka or did it just touch the line?

Tanaka's bundle goal was initially ruled out after the linesman flagged that the ball was out of play.

However, following a video assistant referee (VAR) review, the goal was awarded and Japan held on for a historic win.

Furthermore, FIFA said in two tweets that VAR officials “use goal-line camera images to check whether the ball is still partially on the line or not. Other cameras may offer misleading images but based on the available evidence the whole ball is not out of play.

'Good atmosphere'

Ahead of Monday's round of 16 tie against Japan, Croatia midfielder Lovro Majer paid tribute to what Samurai Blue have done at this World Cup.

"They showed that it's not the name that's playing with, but what's more important is heart and courage. They deserved this and showed their quality," said Majer, per Reuters.

Japan may have failed to qualify for the quarter-finals of the World Cup – losing in the last 16 as they did in 2002, 2010, 2018 – but the likes of Ritsu Doan, Junya Ito, Wataru Endo and Daizen Maeda have all polished them off. reputation.

"We beat Germany and Spain - both World Cup winners," Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu said, according to Reuters, after Monday's loss to Croatia.

"We have to be confident in our abilities and, if we aim not only to catch up but also to surpass, I think there will be a different future for Japanese football," added Moriyasu.

While Samurai Blue brings drama, debate and courtesy, Japanese fans are also busy playing their part in creating a good atmosphere at Qatar 2022.

After watching their team play in the World Cup game, the Japanese contingent imitated their team's efforts in the locker room against Germany and worked together to clean up their trash in the stands. This article was written by EDUKASI CAMPUS. 

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