The FIFA World Cup 2022 has been excellent, with fantastic performances from Japan against previous winners like Germany and Spain. Despite their loss to Croatia, that too on penalties, there have been no complaints from the team and the management.
However, the coach believes their win against those two top teams is an achievement the whole continent should be proud of! He believes that this will be an exceptional boost to the team’s morale and confidence. Japan came to the headlines several times this World Cup, and not all of them were due to their wins.
Right after their first match, people noticed how their jersey was similar to a recently aired football anime called “Blue Lock.” Later it was revealed that the author (mangaka) of the anime designed the jerseys for the national team. This made anime fans take Japan more seriously and welcome the gesture.
Then right after the first match, hundreds of Japanese stayed behind to clean the stadium voluntarily. While they did this in the previous world cups also, this time, they got a lot of attention and praise from the football community. If you want to watch a video of the Japanese selflessly cleaning the stadium, we have covered it in another article.
Not only the Japanese fans but also the National Japanese Football team also participated in cleaning their room after the match. They left their room spotless after every game and also left some paper origami as a thank you.
Japan was also in a controversy for a deciding goal against their match with Spain. This World Cup uses very high tech and tons of sensors and cameras, and ultimately it was decided that Japan would be given the goal. From one angle, it seems that the ball has crossed the line; however, from the top view, it looks like it is still touching the line. This goal was ultimately the reason that disqualified Germany.
Other cameras may offer misleading images but on the evidence available, the whole of the ball was not out of play. pic.twitter.com/HKKEot0j1Y— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) December 2, 2022
Another noteworthy fact is that japan had only 18% possession of Spain, which is the record for the lowest possession of the winning team in the World Cup, previously held by South Korea for 27%.
The loss against Croatia was hard to digest. Throughout the 120-minute gameplay, Japan had an impressive performance and held the 2018 World Cup runner-up to one goal. Later, Japan realized that they needed to improve their penalties as they lost after only being able to score 1 and got 3 in return. Fans were gutted when it came to penalties. Everyone was praying for one more goal from Japan, but Croatia defended well. Everyone was cheering for Japan, the underdog, and they’ve also been showing excellent performance.
Japan made it through the first round in the World Cup for the third time in its past four appearances. Japan will be searching for a chance to make it into the quarterfinals in 2026 when the World Cup rolls around.
This ended Japan’s World Cup run this time. However, they were successful in leaving a stunning impression on the world. When the fans returned home, the airport was packed with supporters welcoming their heroes, they were sad that they couldn’t do better, but everyone showed their support. The Asian team is full of talent that is young and has the potential to once more create a name for itself in the competition in just four years.
Japan beat two World Cup winners in Spain and Germany while pushing Croatia to penalties 😮— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 5, 2022
They have so much to be proud of 🇯🇵❤️ pic.twitter.com/BwetMTzura
Majority of the players in Japanese team are young and are associated with European leagues. This will definitely help them improve over the years and be ready when the next World Cup rolls around.