Japan clean their locker room after AFC final loss

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Japan were praised for their class and dignity in defeat after leaving their dressing room spotless in the wake of their defeat to Qatar in the Asian Cup final on Friday. The four-time Asian Cup winners also left the words ‘thank you’ on a white board in EnglishArabic and Japanesat the Zayed Sports City stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Japan gained immense popularity at last summer’s World Cup when they took the time to clean their changing room after a gut-wrenching last-16 exit to Belgium when they blew a two-goal lead.

Japan’s fans in Russia paid attention to collecting waste in stadiums and tidying up public spaces, which inspired the fans of PeruColombia and Senegal to do the same.

Qatar’s first big win

Qatar celebrated its national football team’s upset victory at the Asian Cup with a royal welcome and a street parade by jubilant fans in the capital, Doha. On Friday, the Gulf nation defeated four-time winners Japan in the final of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup football tournament held at Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City Stadium in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Thousands of Qataris and residents gathered in the capital Doha on Saturday to welcome their footballers home after their stunning Asian Cup victory against Japan. Fans holding national flags cheered and threw flower petals as the team waved to the crowd from an open bus on Doha’s landmark Corniche.

Led by Ali, whose spectacular overhead kick was his ninth goal of the tournament, a new record for the Asian Cup, Qatar doubled its lead on 27 minutes when Hatim fired home.

Japan fought back in the second half with Takumi Minamino halving the deficit in the 69th minute, the first goal Qatar had conceded in the tournament. But any hopes Japan had of rescuing the tie were firmly extinguished when Afif  kept his cool to score from the penalty spot to settle the tie and start the celebrations. For Qatar, the host nation of the next World Cup, 2022 cannot come soon enough.

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