Japan fans have continued collecting up rubbish left in the stands even after their nation’s heartbreaking penalty shootout defeat to Croatia.
Supporters were again seen equipped with blue waste bags as they handpicked rubbish from underneath the seats of the Al Janoub Stadium.
Japanese fans have won plaudits throughout the World Cup for their cleanliness, which they have been doing as a gesture of respect and goodwill in the empty stadium.
And despite suffering a 3-1 loss on penalties, having been gridlocked at 1-1 after 90 minutes and extra time, they continued to show their class after being knocked out of the tournament.
Japan fans clean up the stands by removing their waste following the penalty shootout defeat to Croatia
A female Japan supporter carried a see-through bag filled with rubbish left inside the Al Janoub Stadium
Another Japan supporter handpicks plastic bottles that have been left underneath the seats following the game
Back home in Tokyo, though, Japan fans were pictured in tears following their nation’s heartbreaking defeat
Japan fans appear distraught following their team’s penalty shootout defeat to Croatia in the last 16
There was a sweet moment as two stadium stewards appeared to thank the fans with a fist bump as they handed over multiple bags filled with rubbish
Japan fans clear rubbish in the stands after their penalty shootout defeat to Croatia in the Al Janoub Stadium
Japanese fans have won plaudits throughout the World Cup for their cleanliness after their matches
Bags filled with rubbish collected by Japanese fans are left neatly piled for the stadium’s stewards
Japan supporters were also pictured cleaning up not only for their own group stage match against Germany, Costa Rice and Spain but also during the World Cup opener, Qatar vs Ecuador.
One fan, wrapped in a Japan flag while wearing a large football hat, was seen with a bin bag filled with plastic bottles.
There was also a sweet moment as two stadium stewards appeared to thank the fans with a fist bump as they handed over multiple bags filled with rubbish.
The country has gained a reputation for similar goodwill at previous international tournaments and their admirable behaviour.
And it has become a recurring theme to see Japan fans leaving no trace behind at stadiums.
Against Germany, they left their dressing room at the Khalifa International Stadium absolutely spotless.
Pictures shared on social media showed the floors swept, litter sorted into neat piles and even windows left open for ventilation in the Japan changing room after their 2-1 win.
Japan fans have explained why they are collecting rubbish and cleaning up – even at games not involving their nation.
One fan told Al Jazeera: ‘Our heart is clean, so the stands must be clean. This means the team reaches its destiny.’
Back in 2018, after a heartbreaking defeat in the final moments of their World Cup last 16 tie with Belgium, they earned massive respect when they cleared up the Rostov Arena.
A Japan fan smiles as he is pictured with a blue plastic bin bag filled with plastic bottles and other rubbish
A Japan supporter carries a blue plastic bin bag in one hand with a small Japanese flag in the other
The country has gained a reputation for similar goodwill at previous international tournaments and their admirable behaviour
It’s becoming a recurring theme to see Japan fans leaving no trace behind at stadiums
Supporters again were seen equipped with blue waste bags as they handpicked rubbish from underneath the seats of the Al Janoub Stadium
On the pitch, meanwhile, Japan were knocked out at the last 16 stage for the fourth time – unable to repeat the epic results against Germany and Spain in the group stage.
They took a first half lead two minutes before half-time when a short corner routine set up Ritsu Doan to deliver a fierce in-swinging cross, which Croatia failed to defend as they struggled in the opening period.
The second half opened in similar fashion, devoid of urgency, until Perisic sparked Croatia into life with a splendid header, guided inside the post from fully 12 yards out after a cross swung over, fairly hopefully from deep by Dejan Lovren.
Japan leave Qatar having made many friends with their spirited performances, and shock victories. They have delivered smiles, too, as the tidiest team at the World Cup, cleaning up their dressing rooms and leaving behind little origami models.
They made Croatia work hard, too, but what a terrible mess they made when it came penalties.
Livakovic saved from Takumi Minamoto, Kaoru Mitoma and Maya Yoshida. Only Takuma Asano scored for Japan. It may take some time for them to cleanse the heartache.