2018 FIFA World Cup has been about a wide volley of dreams and expectations, as much as it have been about exploits on and off the soccer field. Well, every four years the showpiece of world football returns to stun with its nail biting, intriguing matches of play and this year, in particular, saw quite a few surprising exits and sustenances. But despite that, what has captured the world attention in this moment of time is a delightful depiction of true sportsmanship and unfazed spirit of play.
The semifinals are almost here, and Japan is way past the field and back home, but the Asian country has still got the world talking. Very few countries manage to go past the hype even when they have sometimes ventured into the finals, but Japan is indeed a case of rarity. The nation could not venture past the league stage, but time indeed is not a marker of longevity, neither of acclaim.
In their final group stage against Belgium, in which they suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 loss, Japan no doubt crashed out of their World Cup dream but nevertheless, they continue to live on the dignified life of discipline and respect they have often exhibited as a nation.
The final whistle in the Rostov Area after the game may have signified the stop of play, but it didn’t culminate the Japanese fans’ exemplary concern for the environment and that, despite the heartbreak of missing out on what might have been an unprecedented World Cup quarterfinal appearance.
Amazing from Japan.
This is how they left the changing room after losing v Belgium: cleaned it all.
And in the middle, have left a message to Russia: “Spasibo” (Thank you) pic.twitter.com/lrwoIZt2pR
— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) July 3, 2018
Even after losing, Japan fans still stayed behind to clean up the stands 👏 pic.twitter.com/Q5t9akokKy
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 2, 2018
And this has been a continuing ‘trend’ the entire tournament, with Japan setting the same precedent in previous matches as well. Stadiums have been left spotlessly cleaned, with Japanese spectators striving to help workers post the matches to clean up all litter.
Japan and Senegal fans are cleaning up the World Cup…literally 👏 pic.twitter.com/mASdYTzv7R
— B/R Football (@brfootball) June 25, 2018
But what’s more interesting is how discipline fetched Japan a ‘victory’ during one of the most crucial matches in the tournament. In an earlier ‘rematch’ with Senegal in which they were tied with their rivals with the exact points, goal difference and goals scored, Japan edged out their rivals under the fair play rule.
It was 4-6 for Senegal versus Japan and the latter scored the win on account of fewer yellow cards. That obviously translates to a more disciplined and restrained outlook while at work. And that’s exactly what discipline does to you. It rewards you in ways that you can’t even conceive!