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Japan's soccer team had the classiest response to its World Cup defeat

What a moving gesture!
by Lindsay Lowe / / Source: TODAY
Japan's national soccer team found dignity in defeat.
Odd Andersen / AFP - Getty Images

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This takes sportsmanship to the next level!

Japan’s national soccer team impressed fans everywhere with its dignified behavior after it was eliminated from the World Cup in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, on Monday.

The Japanese team, nicknamed the Samurai Blue, suffered a crushing defeat to Belgium that left some Japan fans openly weeping in the stands.

But the Japanese players had the most gracious response to their loss. Before they left, they cleaned their changing room until it was spotless. They also left a note for their Russian hosts that simply read "thank you" in Russian.

Italian sports reporter Tancredi Palmeri tweeted a photo of Japan’s pristine dressing room after the match. He noted that the photo was originally shared by a delegate from FIFA, the international organization that oversees the World Cup.

Fans on Twitter applauded Japan’s classy response to its loss.

It turns out many Japan supporters have an equally impressive attitude toward losing. Despite being visibly upset over their team’s defeat, several fans stayed behind after the game to clean up litter in the stands.

Belgium and Japan, World Cup
A dejected-looking Japan supporter collected garbage after the Japan-Belgium match on July 2. Juan Barreto / AFP - Getty Images

This isn’t the first time Japan fans have pitched in to clean the bleachers after a World Cup match. They also tidied up the stadium following Japan’s loss to Poland on June 28.

Japan vs Poland
Japan fans cleaned up after the Japan-Poland World Cup match on June 28.Toru Hanai / Reuters

Japanese fans also cleaned up after Japan defeated Colombia on June 19, and both Japanese and Senegalese fans picked up garbage after a Japan-Senegal match ended in a draw on June 24.

Japan v Senegal, FIFA World Cup Russia
Japan fans also picked up litter left in the stands after the Japan-Senegal match on June 24. Clive Rose / Getty Images

Well done to the Japanese players — and their fans — for finding dignity in defeat!

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