Japanese fans stay back to clean stadium after team stuns Spain to qualify for knockouts

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Germany suffered a second straight group-stage exit at the World Cup on Thursday as Japan stunned Spain 2-1, in a result that sent both teams through to the last 16. The Asian team surprisingly advanced in first place with six points after coming from behind to topple Spain.

Alvaro Morata headed Spain in front early on, but Japan dramatically hit back at the start of the second half. Ritsu Doan and Ao Tanaka’s goals saw them mount a sensational comeback, just as they did in a shock opening win over Germany.

However, in addition to their spectacular victory, the Japanese fans’ gesture after their victory also captured people’s hearts. Following the thrilling game at Khalifa International Stadium, Japanese spectators who had come to cheer on the team stayed behind to clean up the trash.

This is not the first time that their fans have displayed such spirit. After their famous opening win over Germany this year, they had stayed back to clean the stadium as well.

Japan will play Croatia, the beaten finalists in 2018, in the next round while Spain go on to face Morocco. It is the fourth time Japan have reached the last 16 but they have never progressed beyond that stage.

Here is a look at the pictures from Khalifa International Stadium on Thursday when the Japanese fans stayed back to clean the stadium:

Fans pick up litter inside the stadium after the match | Credit: REUTERS/Susana Vera
A Japan fan picks up litter inside the stadium after the match | Credit: REUTERS/Susana Vera
Japan fans carry rubbish in plastic bags as they clean the stands after the match | Credit: REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini
Japan fans pose with rubbish in plastic bags after they cleaned the stands after the match | Credit: REUTERS/Paul Childs
A Japan fan cleans up after the match as Japan qualify for the knockout stages | Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

With text inputs from AFP

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