Japan were the first Asian team to beat a South American side at the finals

Japan fans cleaned up the stadium after their team beat Colombia 2-1 in the World Cup.

Japanese fans delayed celebrating their country’s 2-1 World Cup win against Colombia by tidying up the stadium according to the BBC.

Japan made history yesterday by being the first Asian team to beat a South American side at the finals.

After the match, Japanese fans were seen sweeping up the Mordovia Arena stadium, disposing of trash in rubbish bags and leaving the ground just how they found it.

The good manners displayed by the supporters are not uncommon for Japanese fans according to Japan-based football journalist Scott McIntyre.

“It’s not just part of the football culture but part of Japanese culture,” McIntyre said. “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.”

“They might leave a bottle or some kind of food package on the ground and then it’s often the case that people get tapped on the shoulder by Japanese people indicating they should clean up or take it home but can’t leave it there,” Mr McIntyre says.

“I know it may sound bland and boring, but this is the reality of a country that’s built on respect and politeness,” McIntyre also said. “And this simply extends to doing respectful things in football.”

“I think it’s a wonderful thing that the World Cup brings so many nations and people together and get to learn and exchange these kinds of things. That’s the beauty of football.”

Professor of Sociology at Osaka University, Scott North, said the behaviour is drilled into Japanese people from a young age.

“Cleaning up after football matches is an extension of basic behaviours that are taught in school, where the children clean their school classrooms and hallways,” said North. “With constant reminders throughout childhood, these behaviours become habits for much of the population.”

“In addition to their heightened consciousness of the need to be clean and to recycle, cleaning up at events like the World Cup is a way Japanese fans demonstrate pride in their way of life and share it with the rest of us,” North added. “What better place to make a statement about the need to care responsibly for the planet than the World Cup?”

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