Sport
Japan curse Drogba and two 'nightmare' minutes
Publish Date: Jun 15, 2014
Japan curse Drogba and two 'nightmare' minutes
Ivory Coasts forward Gervinho (L) celebrates with Ivory Coasts forward and captain Didier Drogba after scoring during a Group C football match between Ivory Coast and Japan at the Pernambuco Arena in Recife during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 14, 2014. AFP PHOTO
  • mail
  • img
newvision

TOKYO - Japanese football fans erupted in joy -- then dropped their heads in dismay, cursing Didier Drogba as the Blue Samurai went down 2-1 to Ivory Coast in their World Cup opener.

Thousands of people gathered at sports bars and stadiums across the Land of the Rising Sun to watch the match in Recife live on television on a late Sunday morning in Japan.

"It seemed Drogba did us in all by himself," former Japan coach Takeshi Okada, who guided the Asian champions to the last-16 round at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, commented in the Brazilian city on public broadcaster NHK.

"Now it will take a tremendous amount of energy to carry on our tough job," said the scholarly 57-year-old. "We must accept the result as something which Japanese football needed. We must take it as a trial which must be overcome."

AC Milan midfielder Keisuke Honda, who scored twice at South Africa 2010, opened the account in the 16th minute.

But the Elephants roared to life after Drogba was sent in at the 62nd minute, with Wilfried Bony and Gervinho scoring in the 64th and 66th minutes.

"Drogba's arrival turned the tide," an NHK announcer said.

"Two nightmare minutes!" tweeted the SKyPerfect TV network as social networks were swamped with thousands of messages lamenting the Samurai's defeat.

"What a devastating way to lose! It really hurts to lose a World Cup opener. We must forget all about it and keep on attacking," tweeted one Yosuke Miyake.

At the Tokyo Dome ballpark, some 35,000 people watching the match on huge stadium screens cheered their team on.

"I believed for the first 60 minutes that Japan would win," Hiroshi Tsujita told AFP at the stadium. "It ended in such a disappointing way."

He was keeping the faith, however. "I believe they will definitely win the next two matches."

Japan will face Greece on June 19 in Natal, and Colombia on June 24 in Cuiaba.

At the Saitama Stadium in Tokyo's northern suburbs, home to the J-League side Urawa Reds, one young woman told HNK: "We will be alright next time. I believe, so 'gambare' (hang in there)!"

About 800 police guarded a zebra crossing in front of the main station in Shibuya, one of Tokyo's shopping and entertainment hubs, as football fans bundled out of sports bars.

Many fans, clad in replica Blue Samurai shirts, were seen exchanging high-fives despite Japan's loss.

"It was a very tough defeat," Japan captain Makoto Hasebe told NHK. "We lost without expressing our style of football on this pitch.

"But we have two more group matches and we have no choice but to regroup now."

RELATED ARTICLES

The lost World Cup? 2014 will be different

Nigeria out to avoid World Cup tantrums

Croatia defender hits out at penalty 'scandal'

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Serunkuuma move raises dust at Express
Heads are set to roll at Express following the transfer of midfielder Simon Serunkuuma to Tanzanian giants Simba SC....
Massa is joint-top scorer in the ABSA Premiership
Geoffrey Massa is determined to win the prestigious top scorers golden boot in the South Africa ABSA Premiership this season....
Visa hitch hits pool hard in an otherwise a good season
Despite the challenges, pool scaled some good height in the 2014 season.For the first time, Uganda fielded a team to the Africa Pool Championships in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in November....
Ebola fears headline 2014 for African football
Ebola caused the 2015 African Nations Cup to be moved from Morocco to Equatorial Guinea in a year which also saw Algeria and Nigeria reach the World Cup finals knock out stages....
Thierry Henry says retiring from professional game
French striker Thierry Henry said Tuesday he was retiring from professional football after two decades in the game and will become a TV analyst for Sky Sports in England....
KCCA start life without Majwega
KCCA FC coach Abdullah Mubiru is optimistic that his side can retain the Uganda Premier league title....
What is causing the rise in Early child marriages?
Decaying social structures
Poor Education
None of the above
follow us
subscribe to our news letter