So the World Cup 2006 adventure is over for the boys in Samurai Blue – Japan 1- 4 Brazil, and out.
What can be said? Well, Tamada scored Japan’s best World Cup goal in the 33rd minute against a fairly lethargic looking Brazilian team.
However, that goal seemed to wake them up, and they spent the rest of the game very artfully putting four goals past Japan. For many though, on the night and certainly in the Japanese media since, the enduring image has been of Japan’s hardest working player, Hidetoshi Nakata, laying down in the centre circle, swapped Brazilian shirt over his eyes presumably crying.
To be honest, you can’t blame him; both in talent and work ethic he’s head and shoulders above his team mates, and this third World Cup may be his last.