Japan’s soccer team pulled off a stunning comeback to defeat Germany 2-1 in their World Cup opening match on Wednesday.
The team, and their fans, have gone viral on social media platforms for their extremely courteous behavior at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha. “Japan fans cleaned up their rubbish in the stadium,” tweeted FIFA on Wednesday, noting that the Japanese team also left their locker room “spotless.”
Several origami birds were also left behind by the team as gifts, as well as a note that said “shukran,” or “thank you” in Arabic. The birds appear to represent the crane, which features on the Japanese team’s badge.
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Japan’s soccer fans are renowned for cleaning up after themselves, and have won plaudits after helping stadium workers pick up and remove their trash at previous World Cups.
The Japan team, nicknamed “Samurai Blue” faces Costa Rica in their next World Cup game on Sunday. A victory would guarantee Japan’s qualification for the knockout stage of the tournament. Costa Rica lost their opening game 7-0 to Spain.
The Qatar World Cup was mired in controversy before a ball was even kicked amid a backlash over the plight of migrant workers and LGBTQ+ rights in the tiny Persian Gulf nation.
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