Maya Yoshida in tears during emotional interview after Japan’s heartbreaking World Cup penalty shootout loss to Croatia
MAYA YOSHIDA fought back the tears after Japan’s heartbreaking elimination from the World Cup.
The Samurai Blue were dumped out of Qatar 2022 at the last 16 stage by Croatia on Monday evening.
The Japanese took the 2018 finalists all the way but came up short in the dreaded penalty shootout.
Yoshida was one of three Japan players to miss their spot kicks and was overcome with emotion in a post-match interview.
The former Southampton defender held back the tears as he said: “We did everything that we could do.
“We’re a great time and we showed great spirit in the performances in all of the tournament.
“Beating Germany and Spain and playing until extra time against the finalists for the previous World Cup.
“I’m very proud of my team and very proud of my team-mates.”
He added: “Even the people in the stadium and the people watching on TV all around the world. I would like to thank you all.
“But it’s very difficult to accept.”
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Despite being heartbroken at his nation’s elimination, Yoshida is immensely proud of the team’s efforts in Qatar.
The Schalke ace said: “After the defeat against Belgium four years ago, we sacrificed a lot for winning this game.
“We spent all the time, four-and-a-half years, for today.
“As I said, that’s why it’s very difficult to accept.
“But at the same time, we are very proud of what we have done. I really enjoyed this tournament.”
Croatia’s reward for beating Japan is a quarter-final clash with tournament favourites Brazil, whom they’ll face on Friday night.
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