Japan’s victory surprises even in Liberdade


Shortly after Japan’s 2-1 victory over Germany, in Group E of the World Cup, this Wednesday (23), the flow in the streets of the neighborhood of Liberdade was intense.

But not to commemorate the historic underdog. Even with the constant movement on the sidewalks, bars remained empty, some even closed. There was no special decoration on the streets: at most, a few Japanese shirts were among the uniforms of the Brazilian national team on the sidewalks.

According to street vendor Ricardo Justino, 65, shirts from Japan sell a lot. They are replicas, made by a designer and stamped with manga, traditional designs from the Asian country, sold at R$ 45 each.

In restaurants, the focus was not on the match either. According to the waitress at an establishment on Rua Galvão Bueno, “no one noticed anything”.

Ricardo Hayato Okuno, 55, who owns a restaurant on Rua Tomás Gonzaga, said he celebrated Japan’s victory, but alone. He is Brazilian, son of a Japanese father, and said he was happy twice as much: for Japan, his second homeland, and for Brazil, in revenge for the 7-1 victory. “The samurai exploded”, said the businessman.

On the same street, around 1:30 pm, the owners of a bar, which was closed, began to lift the door. Tânia Ishii, 53, said that the expectation of a good public was deposited in the game of Brazil, on Thursday (24).

Her husband, Kenneth Ishii, 51, is of Japanese descent and, shortly before the match, did not even know about the match. When he found out the result, he was astonished. The couple says that the Japanese in the region are not excited about the Cup, unless the team passes to the round of 16: “In that case, it would fill the bar. But in the group stage it is difficult, even more so at this time”. The match started at 10 am and was the second game of the day.

According to Ricardo Hayato, Japanese companies don’t usually take days off on World Cup games. The businessman adds that, in Japan, the most popular sports are baseball, golf and fishing. Football ends up taking a backseat.

If the score took many people by surprise, even in the most Japanese neighborhood of São Paulo, for at least one person it was not at all unexpected. Takashi Okuno, 79, Hayato’s father, in addition to celebrating the victory of his country’s national team, was thrilled for having hit the improbable result in the pool.

The game

In the match, the four-time champion Germany took the lead and with a goal by Gündoğan, from the penalty spot. In the second half, he almost widened, but hit the post.

Before turning inside out, the duel also had two goals annulled for offside, one by the Japanese Maeda and another by the German Kai Havertz, in the 8th and 49th minutes of the initial stage, respectively.

After the break, the Germans kept squeezing the Japanese, but they couldn’t find the way to the goal anymore. And they still started to leave spaces in defense. At 30 minutes, Ritsu Doan left everything the same. Eight minutes later, it was Takuma Asano’s turn to score a beautiful goal, to enact the comeback.

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