Social media users praise Japan for spotless locker room at World Cup

Alexis Sanchez Romelu Lukaku

Japan entered Monday's last-16 World Cup match against Belgium in Rostov-on-Don as the clear underdogs, but it surprisingly took the lead early in the second half with a pair of superbly taken goals.

But Japan can take vast pride from its performance both in the Belgium match and in the tournament as a whole.

Belgium overwhelmed Panama and Tunisia by a combined score of 8-2 and then pulled out a 1-0 victory against England to claim the top spot.

After their stunning comeback against Japan, Belgium will now face Brazil in the World Cup quarterfinals on June 6 in Kazan.

South Korea hammered the Germans, and Japan very almost did the same to Belgium, but Asia's representatives are once again heading home before the business end of the World Cup gets going.

Nishino stepped in as coach just months before the World Cup, after Japan's Football Association unceremoniously canned his predecessor Vahid Halilhodzic.

"I hope so, they're not in the World Cup, so now it's time to shine", he said.




Gabriel Jesus played the full 90 minutes, while Fernandinho came off the bench for the final stages as Brazil looked to see out the game and make it through to the quarter-final stage for the seventh-consecutive time.

"That's like how it will be against Brazil, except we can feel like that from the first second". Belgium are one of the only three teams to win all their three group stage matches.

At a bar in a Tokyo business district, the air went out of the room as Belgium found the net in extra time, scoring a third goal to seal Japan's fate.

Even FIFA's official World Cup account highlighted the Japanese contribution to the tournament in a tweet after the team's elimination.

The simple yet touching gestures of Japanese fans and their team have elevated the Japanese World Cup delegation to a class unmatched in most worldwide sporting events. They have never won a knockout-round game at the competition. "We have good training sessions, and I'm sure we'll be ready tomorrow".

Iran also opened with a smash-and-grab raid of a win over Morocco but they were always up against it in a group that also featured Spain and Portugal, while Saudi Arabia beat Egypt in a final fixture that was the deadest of dead rubbers.

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