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Fans lament end of Japan's brave run in World Cup

Fans lament end of Japan's brave run in World Cup

Tuesday, December 06, 2022, 09:30 GMT+7
Fans lament end of Japan's brave run in World Cup
Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Fans in Tokyo watch Japan v Croatia - Tokyo, Japan - December 6, 2022 Japan fans react as they watch the penalty shootout at the Bee bar. Photo: Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan supporters lamented the team's 3-1 penalty shootout loss to Croatia at the World Cup in Qatar, crushing their nation's dream of advancing to the quarter-finals.

Some Samurai Blue fans watched the match in a Tokyo sports bar, undeterred by the rain and a midnight start. They booked their seats at the bar in hopes of witnessing Japan reach the last eight for the first time, but were sorely disappointed.

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Round of 16 - Japan v Croatia - Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah, Qatar - December 5, 2022 Japan fans react after the penalty shootout as Japan are eliminated from the World Cup. Photo: Reuters

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Round of 16 - Japan v Croatia - Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah, Qatar - December 5, 2022 Japan fans react after the penalty shootout as Japan are eliminated from the World Cup. Photo: Reuters

"My mind went blank ... I had no emotion whatsoever," 21-year-old university student Shun Hasegawa said on Tuesday with tears welling up in his eyes as he described the moment Japan lost the shootout.

"The match was decided by a penalty kick, so it was a 50-50 chance for Japan to win or lose. I think penalty shootouts are a bit like a random draw ... it's just so frustrating to think that there was a 50% chance that Japan could have won," he added.

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Fans in Tokyo watch Japan v Croatia - Tokyo, Japan - December 6, 2022 Japan fans look dejected at the Bee bar after the penalty shootout as Japan are eliminated from the World Cup. Photo: Reuters

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Fans in Tokyo watch Japan v Croatia - Tokyo, Japan - December 6, 2022 Japan fans look dejected at the Bee bar after the penalty shootout as Japan are eliminated from the World Cup. Photo: Reuters

Fans in turn clutched at their hair and whelped with joy as they watched Japan open the scoring through Daizen Maeda in the 43rd minute, before an equaliser by Croatia's Ivan Perisic left the two teams deadlocked at 1-1 until the penalty shootout.

Spot kicks by Takumi Minamino, Kaoru Mitoma and Maya Yoshida were all kept out by Croatia's Dominik Livakovic. Ultimately, a stunned silence fell when the Croatians secured the win as Mario Pasalic sent Japan keeper Shuichi Gonda the wrong way.

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Fans in Tokyo watch Japan v Croatia - Tokyo, Japan - December 6, 2022 A Japan fan looks dejected at the Bee bar after the penalty shootout as Japan are eliminated from the World Cup. Photo: Reuters

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Fans in Tokyo watch Japan v Croatia - Tokyo, Japan - December 6, 2022 A Japan fan looks dejected at the Bee bar after the penalty shootout as Japan are eliminated from the World Cup. Photo: Reuters

"It was so fun to watch from start to finish, and it really left an impression on me," said 35-year-old Ryosuke Kabe.

"Every single player put everything they had on the line. It was moving to watch them all fight with everything they had."

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Fans in Tokyo watch Japan v Croatia - Tokyo, Japan - December 6, 2022 Japan fans look dejected at the Bee bar after the penalty shootout as Japan are eliminated from the World Cup. Photo: Reuters

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Fans in Tokyo watch Japan v Croatia - Tokyo, Japan - December 6, 2022 Japan fans look dejected at the Bee bar after the penalty shootout as Japan are eliminated from the World Cup. Photo: Reuters

The Samurai Blue had staged a stunning turnaround against Spain to reach the knockout rounds for the fourth time by topping their group after they started the tournament with a comeback win over Germany before losing to Costa Rica.

TOKYO -- Japan supporters lamented the team's 3-1 penalty shootout loss to Croatia at the World Cup in Qatar, crushing their nation's dream of advancing to the quarter-finals.

Some Samurai Blue fans watched the match in a Tokyo sports bar, undeterred by the rain and a midnight start. They booked their seats at the bar in hopes of witnessing Japan reach the last eight for the first time, but were sorely disappointed.

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Round of 16 - Japan v Croatia - Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah, Qatar - December 5, 2022 Japan fans react after the penalty shootout as Japan are eliminated from the World Cup. Photo: Reuters

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Round of 16 - Japan v Croatia - Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah, Qatar - December 5, 2022 Japan fans react after the penalty shootout as Japan are eliminated from the World Cup. Photo: Reuters

"My mind went blank ... I had no emotion whatsoever," 21-year-old university student Shun Hasegawa said on Tuesday with tears welling up in his eyes as he described the moment Japan lost the shootout.

"The match was decided by a penalty kick, so it was a 50-50 chance for Japan to win or lose. I think penalty shootouts are a bit like a random draw ... it's just so frustrating to think that there was a 50% chance that Japan could have won," he added.

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Fans in Tokyo watch Japan v Croatia - Tokyo, Japan - December 6, 2022 Japan fans look dejected at the Bee bar after the penalty shootout as Japan are eliminated from the World Cup. Photo: Reuters

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Fans in Tokyo watch Japan v Croatia - Tokyo, Japan - December 6, 2022 Japan fans look dejected at the Bee bar after the penalty shootout as Japan are eliminated from the World Cup. Photo: Reuters

Fans in turn clutched at their hair and whelped with joy as they watched Japan open the scoring through Daizen Maeda in the 43rd minute, before an equaliser by Croatia's Ivan Perisic left the two teams deadlocked at 1-1 until the penalty shootout.

Spot kicks by Takumi Minamino, Kaoru Mitoma and Maya Yoshida were all kept out by Croatia's Dominik Livakovic. Ultimately, a stunned silence fell when the Croatians secured the win as Mario Pasalic sent Japan keeper Shuichi Gonda the wrong way.

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Fans in Tokyo watch Japan v Croatia - Tokyo, Japan - December 6, 2022 A Japan fan looks dejected at the Bee bar after the penalty shootout as Japan are eliminated from the World Cup. Photo: Reuters

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Fans in Tokyo watch Japan v Croatia - Tokyo, Japan - December 6, 2022 A Japan fan looks dejected at the Bee bar after the penalty shootout as Japan are eliminated from the World Cup. Photo: Reuters

"It was so fun to watch from start to finish, and it really left an impression on me," said 35-year-old Ryosuke Kabe.

"Every single player put everything they had on the line. It was moving to watch them all fight with everything they had."

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Fans in Tokyo watch Japan v Croatia - Tokyo, Japan - December 6, 2022 Japan fans look dejected at the Bee bar after the penalty shootout as Japan are eliminated from the World Cup. Photo: Reuters

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Fans in Tokyo watch Japan v Croatia - Tokyo, Japan - December 6, 2022 Japan fans look dejected at the Bee bar after the penalty shootout as Japan are eliminated from the World Cup. Photo: Reuters

The Samurai Blue had staged a stunning turnaround against Spain to reach the knockout rounds for the fourth time by topping their group after they started the tournament with a comeback win over Germany before losing to Costa Rica.

Reuters

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