Image Credit: AFP

As dawn broke in Tokyo, Japan fans had dared to believe their team was about to make World Cup history. But a few short minutes later, the dream was short-lived. The final whistle went with Belgium winning 3-2 to end Japan’s latest shot at making World Cup history.

But they did make World Cup history in a way that has left football fans, associations and other teams in respect for the Japanese football team and their fans. 

After the match on Tuesday, Japanese players and fans made sure to clean up after themselves and others, leaving behind spotless a locker room and stadium.

The fans had come prepared to Rostov-on-Don stadium with garbage bags and despite their agonising defeat made sure that the team’s exit didn’t affect what they stood for; courtesy and culture.

The same thing happened after their winning match against Columbia earlier in the tournament.

Cleanliness is a cultural trait imbibed into Japanese society and in all walks of life – and yesterday proved that football was no exception to the rule. 

With inputs from agencies