football

“Are… they OK?” Japan National Soccer Team practice video goes viral for their crappy performance

With Japan’s early defeat in the last FIFA World Cup finals, fans were eagerly awaiting a rebuilt and re-energized team under the guidance of new coach Javier Aguirre. This new national team is set to kick off for the first time on 5 September against Uruguay followed by a match against Venezuela on 9 September.

However, much of the excitement and anticipation held by fans of Aguirre Japan was quickly doused by a wet blanket in the form of a YouTube video posted on 2 September. In it we see what appears to be a practice session that looks…unencouraging to say the least.

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Lone German supporter celebrates with victory lap of Shibuya Crossing

Shibuya Crossing is the busiest scramble crossing in the world, with 3,000 pedestrians crossing at once during peak times and recognized internationally thanks to prominent shots in films such as Lost in Translation. So what better place to celebrate your team’s win in the World Cup? You’re sure to attract some attention, even if it’s literally just you and a flag…

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Greece national football team players turn down individual bonuses for something else

The World Cup is not just a battle between nations to determine who is the strongest in the world. It is also a momentous celebration of international exchange and an opportunity for citizens of the world to display their national pride. Heart-wrenching and heartwarming stories alike are born from the event, which remain in people’s minds long after the final score has been forgotten. Some of the most memorable stories from the tournament don’t even take place on the pitch during gameplay; rather, they materialize in other acts of chivalry off the field.

Although Greece was defeated by Costa Rica on Sunday, Greek citizens couldn’t have been prouder to see their national team advance to the Round of 16 for the first time ever. The Greek athletes also seemed content just having served as representatives for their home country, as they incredibly refused individual monetary bonuses and instead asked for a joint venture that should further unite them in spirit with their fellow countrymen.

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Intense NYT infographic will melt the brains of non-soccer fans

Soccer is becoming increasingly popular in the United States, conveniently coinciding with the country’s decent performance in this and the last World Cup. No news outlet has been milking the globally-loved sport’s new recognition in America more than the New York Times, with seemingly one out of every two stories coming out of the venerable outlet being focused on soccer since the Brazil World Cup began.

Other outlets, comedians, and the forever-loathsome she-thing, Anne Coulter, are having a grand old time calling out the NYT on its pretentious World Cup coverage, but the Times may have jumped the shark when it published this almost impossible to decipher infographic that tracks “Soccer clubs with players on at least two national teams.”

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Uruguay midfielder harnesses the power of DBZ to protect his shins

While the soccer-watching world has been keeping an eye on Uruguay forward Luis Suárez, whose hunger for victory has earned him a nine match, four month suspension, teammate Walter Gargano has been dazzling the otakusphere in other ways. Namely, the proud display of his Dragon Ball Z shinguards.

Midfielder Gargano posted a photo to his Instagram account two days ago, prompting a flurry of excited reactions to his equipment choice.

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Otsukare-sama deshita: A look back at Team Japan’s time at the World Cup

It’s over. With their 1-4 defeat against Colombia, Team Japan is officially out of the World Cup tournament after just three matches. The boys in blue put up a good fight, but arguably left a lot on the pitch in Group C, in what many say was Japan’s best chance to make a big impact on the world stage. But despite the disappointing losses (and one unbelievable tie), there were some truly great moments that came out of the tournament for Samurai Blue. So before we all move on and choose a different team to support, let us take a moment to look back at the matches, the players, and those crazy fans who came together to root on NIPPON!

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Post World Cup cheer up: Shinji Kagawa and Hiroshi Kiyotake take on 55 kids at once

For anyone who’s still struggling to accept Japan’s elimination from the World Cup at the group stage, we’ve got a little video clip here to brighten your mood. While it was originally broadcast on New Year’s Eve half a year ago, it features two of Japan’s top football athletes finding themselves in an amusing situation with none of the stress from the World Cup.

How would you like to see international stars Shinji Kagawa and Hiroshi Kiyotake taking on 55 elementary school kids at once?

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Ivory Coast’s grass-eating goalie amuses Japanese fans after elimination

After Japan’s hopes of advancing in the World Cup were dashed by a 1-4 defeat to Colombia, Japanese football fans have been looking for something to get them smiling again. And Ivory Coast’s goalie provided just the opportunity.

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Game-winning Greek penalty kick wrongly awarded because a guy tripped? 【Updated】

Controversial calls during the World Cup are about as unexpected as Kanye West hysterically ranting on Twitter; that is to say, it happens a lot.  But when it comes to contested fouls in this year’s tournament, here’s one where the argument that it was bogus may just have some… legs! Get it?

At first glance, there didn’t seem to be anything fishy about the stoppage time foul against Greek striker Giorgos Samaras that gave up a penalty kick to the Greeks and sealed their win over Ivory Coast. Most early coverage of the game seems to make no mention of the controversial call, but when fans – who appear to oftentimes be more attentive than game officials – started posting replay footage online, some started to wonder whether Samaras actually tripped over his own feet and wasn’t fouled at all.

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Seriously a lot of people want to marry this Paraguay soccer supporter

You know you’re pretty famous when you have your own Wikipedia page. Sure, some people just take the shortcut of writing their own Wiki and acting like they’re a big deal (I’m looking at you, weird Dungeons and Dragons extra with suspiciously specific and in-depth Wikipedia entry), but when other people write a page all about you of their own accord, you kind of know you’re a big deal.

That’s what happened with Paraguayan model and actress Larissa Riquelme when, in 2010, a photographer caught her celebrating a Paraguay team goal at the 2010 South Africa World Cup and the globe collectively paused, sucked in their breath, and shifted awkwardly in their chairs.

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Japan national football star to voice character in upcoming Pokémon film

Atsuto Uchida, a defender on Japan’s national football team currently playing in Brazil, is making his voice acting debut in the latest Pokémon theatrical film set to premiere next month. 

The producers of the Pokémon movies are well-known for inviting celebrities to voice supporting characters in the annual films, but this year marks the first time that an athlete will lend his voice to the production. Uchida himself has been a fan of Pokémon since he was a child, and his involvement in the movie will hopefully add even more excitement to the World Cup fervor already taking over Japan.

Read on to learn more about Uchida’s role in the upcoming film!

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World Cup players swap shorts after match

The World Cup, an event that brings thousands of people from all over the world together, has some beautiful moments – Neymar, of Team Brazil (who many are calling “the face of the World Cup”) busting into tears of pride at the climax of his nation’s anthem, Japanese fans cleaning their area after a losing game, and the always heartwarming tradition of exchanging jerseys after the match – to name a few.

But we’re not quite sure what to make of Ivan Rakitic of Croatia and Stephane M’Bia of Cameroon exchanging shorts after Wednesday night’s match. But we suppose we can count this as another one of those “beautiful moments.” After all, nothing says “good game, mate” like having your opponent’s ball sweat up in your nether regions. (Soccer ball sweat, you pervs!)

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Can these Japanese kitties accurately predict the advancing teams of the World Cup?

You may remember that octopus named Paul whose accurate series of “predictions” during the 2010 World Cup about Germany’s matches and Spain’s victory shot him to worldwide fame.

Well move over, Paul, because you’ve got two new furry rivals! Stepping up to the challenge in 2014 are Munchkin kitties Kikunosuke and Rikimaru. Their owner had them “predict” which two teams from each of the initial groups A through H would proceed to the rest of the tournament. Japanese fans would be well-advised to listen to the cats, since Japan was picked to advance from group C.

Keep reading to find out which sixteen teams will advance, at least according to the cats!

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Japanese fans are waving around blue plastic garbage bags at today’s World Cup match…

Every country has their fair share of crazy fans dressed in garb ranging from carrot headdresses to scarves with the power of 1000% elephants, but the Japanese supporters are by far our all-around favorite. During their first match against Côte d’Ivoire last Saturday, they showed up with plenty of white paint on their faces and bowling pins on their heads. With Japan’s second match currently underway, we couldn’t help but notice a strange new addition to the cheer gear of Samurai Blue supporters; an item we’ve all seen before being used for its intended purpose.

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Kanji fail – Japanese World Cup fans notice Greek player’s strange tattoo

It must be tough playing in the World Cup. Not only are you representing your entire country, but every mistake you make is seen by millions of people all over the world. Poor Igor Akinfeev, the Russian goalkeeper who let a straightforward shot from Korea’s Lee Keun-ho roll up and over his head and into the goal. It was enough to make anyone want to curl up into a ball and die, and Igor’s mortified face was painful to watch, inspiring thousands of Tweets proclaiming, “Yikes!”

Japanese netizens have taken notice of another footballer faux paus, this time in the form of an unfortunate tattoo. We’ve seen it before – misinformed fans of body modification adding “Chicken Noodle Soup or “casket maker” in exotic scrawl, and Team Greece representative, Theofanis “Fanis” Gekas, has added to the list of tattoos that have piqued the interest of Japanese netizens.

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“The beer is my friend”: Watch the World Cup in style at this Captain Tsubasa Cafe

The World Cup is underway and Japan’s city streets are full of excitable-looking young people wearing blue soccer jerseys (sorry Dad, I mean “football shirts”). If you’re looking for somewhere in Tokyo to watch the game that’s a bit different – somewhere, for example, that’s got soccer-manga merchandise, weird themed food, and blue drinks that aren’t just beer with blue food-colouring in them – we’ve got just the place for you! When the staff at our Japanese sister site heard that a pop-up Captain Tsubasa Cafe was opening in Tokyo’s Ueno district, they couldn’t resist heading down there to take a look!

Captain Tsubasa, for the uninitiated, is a soccer manga (sometimes called Flash Kicker in English) created by Yōichi Takahashi in 1981. As is typical with popular Japanese manga series, Tsubasa and his team have since spread their wings into anime, video games, spin-off merch… and now this sports bar!

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The craziest fans at the World Cup

When it comes to sports passion nothing brings out the crazy in fans more than international competitions.Now mix that with the biggest tournament for the world’s most popular sport and we end up with a show in the stands at the World Cup that is nearly as entertaining as the matches being played.

Let’s take a look at some of the fans with the craziest costumes and attire from the first six days of the World Cup.

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Japanese soccer fans remember their manners in Brazil, clean up before going home

Their national team may have lost their World Cup game against Ivory Coast yesterday morning, but Japanese fans didn’t forget their manners, it would seem.

Like all good kids who remember to say thank you to their friend’s mother after playing at their home, Japan’s passionate football fans reportedly grabbed refuse bags and cleaned up after themselves before leaving the stadium following their team’s match against the African side.

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Netizens across the world duped by Pokémon jet hoax

Only a few days ago the internet was abuzz when a tweet popped up claiming that the Japanese national soccer team arrived in Brazil in a Pokémon jet. Naturally, Pokémon and soccer fans around the world were envious of the sweet ride, and even big-name news agencies, including USA Today, The Toronto Sun, and CBS Sports, all reported the fun fact. However, much to everyone’s disappointment, it has just been revealed that the tweet was nothing more than a prank.

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Samurai in Brazil shows off incredible freestyle football skills ahead of World Cup

There’s now less than a week left until the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, and media and businesses all over the world are gearing up. Japan is no exception, with celebratory events going on and brands rushing to launch special themed products. In amongst it all, one particular advert from Cup Noodle maker Nissin has caught our eye for its great combination of traditional Japan and modern Brazil.

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