At a time when most football fans are guilty of either crying their way out of stadiums or throwing their fists in anger or despair after a defeat, Japanese fans stand apart. Not that they were not heart-broken after their team lost to Belgium in the dying seconds of the Round of 16 match. In fact, they were quite crestfallen. But that did not stop them from doing what they've done throughout this World Cup - clean up their part of the stands.
After the match in Rostov this evening Japan fans stayed behind to tidy the stadium up despite being beaten..
— TheRealCasuals (@Real_Casuals_66) July 2, 2018
https://t.co/V0QdbGboxZ — We salute you #Japan ???????????????? #worldcup @acollectionofawesome #awesome #fairplay #japanesefans #wow #russia2018 #creolbrothers #refreshtodeath #spreadthelove ?? pic.twitter.com/H5pOyRk8av
— Créol Brothers (@creolbrothers) July 2, 2018
Japan had a comfortable 2-0 lead against favourites Belgium in their crucial World Cup match in Rostov-on-Don. Genki Haraguchi had scored and so had Takashi Inui, and by the 52nd minute, it looked like Japan would sail into the quarters. That is when a series of Belgian tsunamis hit the Japanese with two goals in the 69th and 74th minute and the final blow coming with literally seconds left second stoppage time. The Belgians couldn't believe it and neither could the Japanese - for contrasting reasons. But even as the Belgians in the stadium went understandably berserk with elation, the Japanese fans stood their grounds, covered their faces, wiped their tears and were soon seen clearing their part of the stadium.
This is hardly the first time the Japanese supporters across stadiums in Russia have been seen cleaning up after a match. Known for their dedication in fulfilling their civic responsibilities, the Japanese discipline is widely admired the world over. The fact that on Monday night, they chose to once again clear up despite the absolutely heart-wrenching defeat - that is what is being hailed the world over. Many netizens commented and complimented the Japanese supporters - some even lamenting why other supporters are just not in the same league as them. "Does not matter who wins the World Cup because the Japanese fans inside the stadium have already shown what matters most - discipline," wrote one Twitter user. "They are clearing the stands despite this loss? We clearly have just so much to learn from these Japanese," commented another.
While Japan may have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, it is Belgium that will now face off against Brazil in the quarters. In the stands though, there might still be just one winner.