Japanese soccer fans have been praised on social media after cleaning up the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha following their momentous win over Germany at the World Cup in Qatar.
Japan came back from a 2-1 deficit thanks to second-half goals from Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano, the latter with a brilliant individual goal to secure Group E victory over the four-time world champions.
The video on social media showed Japanese fans filling garbage bags with litter and rubbish around their seats after the full-time whistle blew.
Such images have become commonplace at major tournaments and were also seen at the Men’s World Cup in Russia four years ago, where they received acclaim from around the world after their side were knocked out of the tournament by Belgium in the round of 16.
Cleaning up after yourself is an important part of Japanese culture, ingrained from adolescence, and tends to inspire admiration from the rest of the world. The Japanese players were also praised for leaving their dressing rooms “clean” after the game.
One social media user, @kazki_reserve, commented with a Japanese proverb: “A bird does not soil the nest it is about to leave.”
Another Twitter user wrote: “Something they always do in their own stadiums too. part of the culture. And something else should do a lot more.”
Criticism is constant in the age of social media, and one user was quick to point out that the Japanese fans appeared to be using plastic bags to collect the rubbish. “It’s awesome but look how much plastic waste there is!” Chrispeel28 tweeted. “Their efforts are almost immediately nullified by the damage to the single-use plastics that they dump all other single-use plastics into! Nice vibe but execution falls short, maybe not their fault.”
And in a tongue-in-cheek nod to England’s more rowdy fan culture, J_Morgs8 tweeted: “Not unlike the English fans who put down the chairs outside pubs in Europe.”
Japan meet Costa Rica in their next Group E game on Sunday before taking on Spain on Thursday, who beat the Costa Ricans 7-0 in their opener.