WORLD CUP DEFINING IMAGES....
As the World Cup in Russia rolls on to England`s semi-final I`ve been on the lookout for images that have defined the competition so far. We`ve seen spectacular goals, intriguing games, high drama, crushing disappointment, outrageous antics and, inevitably, Kipling`s twin impostors in various guises. We`ve seen images of fans over the moon and as sick as parrots; we`ve seen Engerland progress to the semi-final stage for the first time since 1990 (what a mercy it has been that `Big` Sam Allardyce`s short reign as manager ended so fortunately.)
But for me at least, the images I have taken so far as being the most satisfying were those following Japan`s heroic exit losing 3-2 to Belgium. I don`t know, but I would imagine that, after any defeat, most football teams would simply trudge back to the dressing room, have a shower, get dressed and go. Not so Japan whose culture and innate sense of courtesy meant that they left the dressing room in the same pristine state they found it in when they arrived. They also left a note, in Russian, to thank their hosts:-
And this seemingly natural way of behaving towards their hosts as visitors was mirrored by the Japanese fans who stayed behind in the stadium to clean up the seating areas where they had watched the game.
Japan may have left the World Cup stage but the respectful attitude of their players and supporters confirmed their reputation as probably the best ambassadors seen at the World Cup. We could all learn a lot from them. Maybe there will be some more memorable images before the tournament ends next weekend but for now, well done to Saints very own Maya Yoshida and his band of brothers.