Japanese soccer fans are reeling after a heartbreaking 2018 FIFA World Cup round of 16 loss that came in the 94th minute of a roaring comeback by Belgium. While the team is being commended for showing a spirited efforts and taking part of one of this year's most entertaining matches, the players, much like their traveling supporters, are gaining attention for cleaning up after themselves, even after such a bitter loss.

Much like with 2014 World Cup in Brazil, this year Japanese fans in attendance gained international attention and praise for staying after games to clean up not only their own seating areas, but surrounding sections as well. While not a uniquely Japanese trait, an emphasis on consideration for others by way of cleaning up after oneself is instilled in many from a young age--and particularly stressed at sporting events and concerts, with many fans bringing designated trash bags with them for the purpose of cleaning up. Senegal and Colombia supporters also impressed many, working together to clean up venue in Russia.

A photo shared of the Japanese team's lockeroom, however, has been giving soccer fans another reason to root for the Samurai Blue, this time off the pitch. The Japanese team tidied up their visiting locker room, and left a "thank you" note in Russian for the host country's facilities, staff, and fans. Janssens calls the squad "an example for all teams" and "a privilege to work with".

While it would be unfair to assume other teams left their dressing rooms in disarray, difference in locker room cleanliness have been observed before, with a Nikkan Gendai story that compared the state of MLB and Japanese all-star team dugouts during their inter-league competition. Japan-based soccer journalist told the BBC "You often hear people say that football is a reflection of culture. An important aspect of Japanese society is making sure that everything is absolutely clean and that’s the case in all sporting events and certainly also in football."

Perhaps it's a little troubling that the adulation the Japanese team and its supporters get for the simple act of cleaning up after themselves sensationalizes basic consideration for others, but it's a nice reminder that class and sportsmanship exists off the field as well

By - Big Neko.