Japanese team leaves dressing room spotless even after devastating loss to Belgium

Romelu Lukaku

GETTY Romelu Lukaku scored his four goals in Belgium's first two games before being rested vs England

Japan was bounced from the World Cup on Monday, its surprising run halted by a flurry of late Belgian goals.

"I am really happy for the match, not only individually but also for the whole team".

Former Japan worldwide Daisuke Ichikawa believed Belgium enjoyed a big slice of luck with their first goal, Jan Vertonghen's looping header from 20 yards, while ex-captain Ryuzo Morioka said: "They (Japan) shocked the world".

'So we have to have a real understanding of how to play against a team like that - a team with players like Neymar and Coutinho who can decide a game in one second.

Belgium, for all the talent it showed in winning its group, faced lingering questions about whether it had the mental toughness to go much beyond that.

The good sportsmanship is another example of how Japan - players and fans - have earned the admiration of everyone at the games in Russian Federation. Let's hope that doesn't happen tomorrow.

Belgium boss Roberto Martinez was more optimistic, and said the benefit of the extra rest would outweigh any potential negatives.

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He will nearly certainly be replaced by Manchester City's Fernandinho, another favorite of Brazil manager Tite, who has played some part in every Brazil game at this year's World Cup.

"If a player is rusty initially, they will get used to it eventually, and feel the benefit later in the game".

This World Cup keeps on giving and we expect that to continue as we race towards finalizing the cast for the quarter-finals of this tournament.

"It's time to shine, definitely", Hazard said.

"We don't have physical ability but we have good technique in midfield and the Japanese league also has these qualities so the players can play in Spain or Germany or leagues where they want to keep the ball".

"We lost it, but they left everything on the pitch", conceded 23-year-old Sawa Okada.

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