For a second straight FIFA World Cup, Japan’s supporters cleaned up stadiums following games.
While fascinating to outsiders, this is prevalent in Japanese culture.
Orderly and courteous. They seek to leave a place as they found it.
Even the Samurai Blue clean their dressing rooms. Perhaps cleaner than before.
Not that Japanese players aren’t messing up in Qatar.
Fortunately for the cleaners at Khalifa International Stadium on Wednesday and their next sites on Sunday and next Thursday, Japan simply wants to disrupt the World Cup order.
In their Group E opening against Germany, they came from behind to win with two goals in the closing 15 minutes.
Asian football made a huge message 24 hours after Saudi Arabia upset Argentina 2-1.
Before this year’s tournament, the region has won 17 of 108 World Cup games since 1938.
Qatar 2022 has started with three wins.
Japan has a serious possibility of reaching the quarterfinals for the first tournament ever.
Being one of the final eight teams at a World Cup would disturb the established order, since Europe and South America normally dominate.
Japan can qualify for the Round of 16 on Sunday if they defeat Costa Rica and Germany loses to Spain.
Both are possible, although the former is more likely following Costa Rica’s 7-0 defeat to Spain in their opening.
Japan must avoid complacency to avoid another German shock.
“The Costa Rica squad has strong physical performance and can play organised,” says coach Hajime Moriyasu.
The squad is excellent. Our second game is essential.”
There are things that will absolutely, likely, and possibly happen at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan on Sunday at 6 p.m.
The Japanese supporters will clean up after themselves and others, leaving the stadium almost pristine.
They would likely have just seen their Samurai Blue warriors beat Costa Rica for a second straight triumph at Qatar 2022.
Depending on what occurs between Spain and Germany on Sunday evening, Japan might take another significant step toward upsetting the World Cup’s established order — with a game to spare.
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