The players of the Japanese soccer team returned to the Asian country after their participation in the Qatar 2022 World Cup and were received as heroes this Thursday by the Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, after losing in the round of 16 of end.

The “blue samurai” went to the office of the Japanese prime minister and shared with him their impressions of their bitter elimination, after landing the day before at Narita airport, where they were received by hundreds of Japanese supporters.

Kishida thanked the players for the “excitement” they have conveyed to the Japanese people, described them as a “great team” and asked them to “keep going” despite having been defeated on penalties by Croatia last Monday, according to the state channel NHK.

Maya Yoshida, one of the team’s captains, expressed to the prime minister the will of the dressing room to “have gone beyond” the round of 16, something that until now the Japanese team has never achieved in a World Cup.

“We could not achieve it by very little. The most important thing is that we continue working like this to achieve better results later,” said Yoshida, who was also “surprised” by the massive welcome the team received on their return to Japan.

More than 600 people went to the airport facilities to welcome the group.

“We will continue to work with pride, even though we couldn’t reach our goal of reaching the next round, and we hope that the people can continue to enjoy themselves with the team,” said Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu.

The Japanese Prime Minister received the Japanese team accompanied by the Minister of Education, Culture and Sports, Keiko Nagaoka, and officials from the Japan Football Federation (JFA) and the National Sports Agency.

Japan’s performance in the World Cup aroused enormous expectations in the Asian country after they managed to defeat Germany and Spain in Group E, although the Japanese’s hopes of making history and reaching the quarterfinals were buried in the round of penalties against Croatia (1-3), after regulation time and extra time ended with a draw at 1.

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