SINGAPORE - After the soul-crushing manner of Japan's 3-2 last-16 World Cup loss to Belgium on Monday (July 2), when the Red Devils netted their winner deep into added time with practically the final kick of the game, one would think civic-mindedness would be the last thing on the Samurai Blue's minds.
But that would be most unlike the Japanese, whose renowned selflessness has been reflected by the impeccable behaviour of their fans in Russia.
Japanese fans have received international acclaim for cleaning up after themselves and picking up litter at the Ekaterinburg Arena following their 2-2 Group H encounter with Senegal.
Their civility was extended to the Rostov Arena when their heartbroken supporters were seen again making sure the stands were spotless.https://twitter.com/SirJadejaaaa/status/1013914028177887232
And the Japanese national team have shown they are equally classy after their incredible gesture towards Belgium, despite being left distraught when the full-time whistle blew, with many players reduced to tears.
Akira Nishino's men won plaudits worldwide after Fifa general coordinator Priscilla Janssens' tweet, which has since been deleted but not before going viral, revealing the extent Japan went to leave a lasting impression after exiting the tournament in what was their third attempt to make their first-ever quarter-finals.
Janssens tweeted: "This is the Japanese dressing room (sic) after losing to Belgium in the 94' minute.
"Thanked their fans in the stadium, cleaned up everything (bench and dressingroom) and spoke to media. Even left note with 'Thank you' in Russian.
"What an example for all teams!! Privilege to work with!"
Head coach Nishino admitted his players were stunned into silence after the cruel defeat, but they still found the will to pick themselves up to fold what appears to be blue origami cranes to adorn their thank-you note to express their gratitude at the hospitality shown by hosts Russia.
The Finals may be over for Japan, but they have proven themselves as champions off the pitch, with their exemplary actions winning the hearts and minds of neutrals everywhere.