ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia — Even after they were booted out of the World Cup, the Japanese national football team gave us a lesson in grace.
Following their heartbreaking loss to Belgium on Monday, the players left behind a note that said “спасибо” (Russian for “thank you”) in their locker room.
Oh, and they cleaned it up.
— CNN (@CNN) July 3, 2018
The good sportsmanship is another example of how Japan — players and fans — have earned the admiration of everyone at the games in Russia.
This is my favourite moment of the World Cup so far; Japan fans picking up litter after their victory vs Columbia. The lessons in life we can take from the game. Why I support 🇯🇵 #class✅#respect✅#WorldCup pic.twitter.com/FyYLhAGDbi
— Christopher McKaig (@Coachmckaig) June 19, 2018
Where fans of other teams hit the news for doing things like giving Nazi salutes, Japan’s revelers made headlines in late June for sticking around after a victory to clean up the stadium.
Need further proof the Japanese players have the kind of manners that would make your parents want to invite them around for a holiday meal?
— Mulboyne (@Mulboyne) July 2, 2018
After Monday’s defeat, which came after they fended Belgium off and led by a point for some time, the Japanese team bowed to their own fans in gratitude.