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World Cup: Despite heartbreaking loss, Japan leaves outstanding reputation behind

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By Cristina Abellan Matamoros
World Cup: Despite heartbreaking loss, Japan leaves outstanding reputation behind
Copyright  REUTERS/Marko Djurica

Japan may be out of the World Cup but they will be remembered as the most polite and cleanest team of the entire tournament who stole the hearts of football fans worldwide.

After losing their game against Belgium in the final seconds of stoppage time on Tuesday, the Japanese side made sure the changing room was left spotless before exiting the stadium — and left a thank-you note for the Russian hosts.

A picture of the tidy locker room was shared by sports journalist Tancredi Palmeri on Monday and has already been retweeted more than 2,000 times at time of writing.

The team also stayed around after the painful loss to give their fans an ovation.

Japanese fans were also captured cleaning up the stadium after the heartbreaking loss — leaving an outstanding reputation despite the painful defeat.

Read more | Belgium's win over Japan: A World Cup comeback not seen in almost half a century

Earlier in the competition, Japanese fans had already been lauded for helping to clean up the stadium after their game against Colombia.


The Japanese team stunned viewers so much with their outstanding performance that Twitter users made sure to congratulate the team despite their inconsolable loss.

Even the football association FIFA tweeted their heartbreak for Japan.

Others called it the "best game of the World Cup so far."

Japan took the strong lead against Belgium with 2-0 at the start of the second half. But favourites Belgium were able to catch up with a remarkable counterattack that ended the game at 3-2 and broke Japan's dream of advancing to the quarter-finals.