Keisuke Honda and Yasuhito Endo showed their skill on set-pieces Thursday, each hammering home a masterful free kick in the first half as Takeshi Okada's Samurai Blue downed Denmark 3-1 at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg.
Parties, celebrations, applause, Japan football fans nationwide threw early morning parties and celebrations Friday as Japan's national team qualified for the final 16 in the World Cup by defeating Denmark 3-1 in Thursday's match in South Africa.
For the Samurai Blue, it was their first time to advance to the last 16 since the 2002 World Cup co-hosted by Japan and South Korea, thanks to French Coach Philippe Troussier. "We proved soccer is a team sport," Japan coach Okada said after the game. "We're not fighting individually. We're fighting as a team.
TV Record Rating for Fans watching the game
"The TV rating for the World Cup soccer match between Japan and Denmark reached 30.5 percent in the Kanto area on June 25, despite the telecast starting around 3 a.m. Japan time. With Japan's qualification for the final 16 in the World Cup at stake, ratings even climbed to 41.3 percent shortly before 5 a.m., when Japan held a 2-0 lead in the 25th minute of the second half, according to Video Research Ltd. While the company's daily rating coverage only runs until 5 a.m., the live program's ratings are likely to have soared higher beyond that time, as the Blue Samurai ended up defeating the Scandinavian powerhouse 3-1 before the match finished at around 5:21 a.m. The telecast, aired by Nippon Television Network (NTV), ended at 5:40 am." End of quotes.
My report for RTL France, in Paris as I saw Japan celebrating with heartfelt joy!
"Mondial 2010 : le Japon s'embrase pour son équipe nationale"
Sources: Agencies, Fifa, Yomiuri, Mainichi, Asahi, Reporter's notes