Football World Cup: The Global Game

World Cup Around the World
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The Independent Online
"THE TEARS flowed as freely as the summer showers at the Stade Gerland in Lyons on Friday afternoon, as Japan's World Cup came to a close with a disappointing 2-1 defeat by Jamaica. When the final whistle blew to signal not only the end of the match, but also the end of Japan's World Cup debut, several players were unable to control their emotions. Some wept openly after failing to reward their supporters with a victory, or even a point, in the final Group H game.

Masami Ihara, the captain who had led his team so proudly, could not hold back the tears as he said a fond farewell to the fans. Masashi Nakayama, the scorer of Japan's historic first goal at this level, had to be lifted from the sodden turf by Jamaican players and coaching staff, so deep was his grief. The Brazil-born striker Wagner Lopes, who created Nakayama's goal with a towering header, struggled to get his words out for the television cameras.

But the most emotional scene of all involved goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi. Kawaguchi's frustration had grown in relation to the chances that had gone begging at the opposite end, and for the third game in a row, he found himself on the wrong end of the narrowest of defeats." "Yomiuri Shimbun", Japan's biggest-selling newspaper, reflects at length, and with some emotion, on Japan's exit from the World Cup.

"TWO GOALS from Theodore `Tappa' Whitmore gave Jamaica a 2-1 win earlier today over Japan, their first in a World Cup finals, in an entertaining group H game where pride more than points were at stake." "Jamaica Gleaner" reacts to the same event.