Japanese football supporters in Singapore were elated by their national team’s World Cup performance on Thursday, when they recovered from behind to defeat former champion Spain (Dec 1).
Hajime Moriyasu’s squad defeated Spain 2-1 in their final group stage encounter, clinching first place and a spot in the round of 16.
The outcome also resulted in the elimination of former winners Germany, whom Japan had previously defeated 2-1.
Japan, who will face Croatia on Monday, has never advanced past the first round of elimination. This is the first time in consecutive World Cups that they have qualified for the round of 16.
Despite the odds, the Samurai Blue’s performance has given its supporters renewed optimism.
Mr. Norihito Hirose, 49, kept his craft beer pub SG Taps open for approximately twenty of his Japanese friends so they could watch the match together on Friday at approximately 3 a.m. Singapore time.
He was taken aback by the triumph, as he did not anticipate Japan to perform well following their “awful, painful” 1-0 loss to Costa Rica.
“I understand how people perceive Spain’s strength,” he added, adding that there was a “significant gap” between Spain and Japan. He believed that a tie would be “very fortunate” for his team.
Therefore, he was not shocked when Spain took the lead in the eleventh minute. But when Japan equalized the score in the second half and scored again moments later, he was “very startled.”
In the bar, cheers and yells erupted. In the final 20 minutes of the contest, they were followed by ardent prayers that Spain would not launch a comeback of their own.
Albirex Niigata head coach Kazuaki Yoshinaga, who observed the game from his home in Singapore, deemed the first half to be difficult.
“However, I believed that Japan might come from behind to win in the second half by switching tactics and players, just like they did against Germany,” the 54-year-old explained.
He believed that Japan ultimately defeated Spain because each player “played harder” than the opposition.
“I believe that we will provide dreams and hope to all people, especially children, by achieving our aim of placing in the top eight and beyond.”
Japan’s Ambassador to Singapore, Hiroshi Ishikawa, told CNA, “I could not tear myself away from the television from the moment the game began.”
Mr. Ishikawa was “very pleased” with the national team’s “outstanding triumph.”
We all know that the Spanish football team is a football superpower, therefore their accomplishment is very astonishing.
Mr. Tsuyoshi Nagao, 58, who coached local youth football club FC Jepun Hitam for 15 years, was another fan who was impressed by the team’s performance.
“It’s the second breakthrough against Spain after Germany, and it’s incredible!” he exclaimed.
Mr. Nagao commended Mitoma, Doan, Tanaka, and Junya Ito for their “vigorous running” and the “well-organized” defensive formation.
“Japan prevailed against the Spanish players because of their unwillingness to give up. I think the upcoming match against Croatia will alter the course of Japan’s soccer history,” he stated.
He also expressed hope that Japan will reach the final, but acknowledged that this was “unlikely.” He anticipates that Brazil will compete against France or England for the championship.
Mr. Frank Kobayashi, a 54-year-old coach of Shoot Football Academy, remarked, “We believed it would be difficult to win this game, but we’re extremely pleased.”
A team from the children’s football academy was en route to Thailand on Monday to compete in the Bangkok International Supercup.
Mr. Kobayashi stated that the triumph has become a source of inspiration for the predominantly Japanese youth.