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Japan fans stay behind to clean up stadium after Qatar vs Ecuador World Cup game

Jack Kenmare

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Japan fans stay behind to clean up stadium after Qatar vs Ecuador World Cup game

In the aftermath of Sunday's World Cup opener between Qatar and Ecuador in Al Khor, a number of Japan supporters stayed behind to help clean up the Al Bayt Stadium.

Japan fans have history when it comes to tidying rubbish at stadiums around world football.

Back in 2018, after a heartbreaking defeat in the final seconds of their World Cup last 16 clash against Belgium, they earned the respect of millions when they cleared up the Rostov Arena.

And a year later, they showed their class again after a section of supporters picked up rubbish at Roazhon Park following their side's 2-1 defeat of Scotland in Group D of the Women's World Cup.

Japan fans tidy stadium during Women's World Cup. Image credit: BBC
Japan fans tidy stadium during Women's World Cup. Image credit: BBC

It's an incredible tradition that continued on Sunday night, when a handful of Japan fans stayed behind to help locals tidy the Al Bayt Stadium.

So why do they do it? "It's not just part of the football culture but part of Japanese culture," Japan-based football journalist Scott McIntyre told the BBC in 2018.

"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."

Twitter user @maljefairi, who posted the below clip, wrote: "You don't have to be a muslim to clean your trash behind you. Look at this amazing behavior from Japanese fans. They are cleaning the studium behind them even when it’s not there match. Wow. Salute Japan."

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Omar Farooq watched the supporters working away when everyone else had left.

He said: “Someone convince me that this is normal. The Japanese fans decided to clean the stadium. It’s not even their match! When I asked them, ‘Why are you cleaning something not related to you?’ The answer was, ‘Japanese never leave rubbish behind us. We respect the place.'”

Farooq added: “This is a thing I heard about, but I never thought it was this real. Wow. All respect.”

Image credit: TikTok/omr94
Image credit: TikTok/omr94

In terms of the full-time result on Sunday afternoon, a brace from former West Ham forward Enner Valencia handed Ecuador a deserved 2-0 win in their opener against hosts Qatar.

Featured Image Credit: TikTok/omr94

Topics: Football World Cup, Japan, Qatar, Ecuador

Jack Kenmare
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