At the time of writing this piece, the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be hosting its semi-finals.
In one semi-final, 2018 Champion France will be taking on the upstart Moroccan side, and the other semi-final has the finalists from 2018, Croatia, playing perennial powerhouse Argentina.
Now Croatia and Morocco, if you can recall, were in the same division as Canada, so to see these two teams with the possibility of squaring off in the finals, makes these games all the more interesting.
After the initial group stage, Croatia defeated Japan on penalties. This was a tough blow to the Japanese as they had beaten former world champs in Spain and Germany to get to the Round of 16.
What has made their particular run noteworthy is the manner in which their fans, players and coaches conducted themselves throughout their stay in Qatar.
After each of Japan’s games, their fans cleaned the stands as a show of gratitude to the host stadium. Each were given garbage bags upon seating, and widespread pictures showed multitudes of people walking out of each game with bags of garbage to be disposed of.
Lessons in 2022 World Cup:
During football games we usually remember chaos,fights,destruction of properties and unethical celebrations. Opposite to this are Japanese🇯🇵 fans cleaning garbage & collecting plastics from stadium after beating Germany🇩🇪. RESPECT 🙏🙏@japantimes pic.twitter.com/U2qviiDP2o
— Dr MOHA Abdulahi 🇪🇹🇪🇷🇰🇪🇸🇴🇩🇯🇸🇩🇸🇸 (@DrMohaAbdulahi) November 23, 2022
After each game, the players cleaned their dressing rooms and left them in better condition than what they found them in. Again, a show of gratitude to their hosts.
Japan players clean their locker room after every game, including their latest victory. Their fans clean the stadium spotless where they sat. A lesson in respect and culture. What a world could be if others followed. Small things make huge differences. #WorldCup2022 ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/86S6fTbstl
— DaleSheehan (@dale_l_sheehan) December 2, 2022
Lastly, images shown across the globe showing their Head Coach, Hajime Moriyasu, approaching the stands of the Japanese fans and bowing to them in a show of gratitude and thanks for their support. This is known as ‘Saikeirei.’
Just two words to describe this: Dignity. Grace.
(Team Japan manager Hajime Moriyasu bowing to fans in gratitude) pic.twitter.com/wH2rNMhZ2A
— anand mahindra (@anandmahindra) December 6, 2022
What a shining example of a sport fanbase, players and coach demonstrating the meaning of class. This is a fantastic reflection on a society.
Would it not be great if we in the game of hockey can instill these types of values, of gratitude, graciousness, and class into our eco-system?
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