Japan's national soccer team has returned home 3 days after a heartbreaking loss to Belgium at the knock out stage of the World Cup in Russia.
Members of the Samurai Blue were greeted by a cheering crowd at Narita airport near Tokyo.
A victory against Belgium would have meant a first ever Japanese appearance in the quarterfinals. But fans weren't letting the 3-2 loss dampen their enthusiasm.
Head coach Akira Nishino and team captain Makoto Hasebe thanked the supporters after their arrival.
Nishino said, "We were only able to win one game in the end and that signifies how hard it is to score even one goal at the world cup. I am proud of my players for being able to show their best at the highest level in Russia."
Hasebe said, "I think everybody on the team shared the feeling of regret from our previous world cup losses and that's what brought us together as a team. We're obviously not satisfied with this result and hope that future generations will build on top of our experiences."
The Japan Football Association announced Nishino will step down as head coach of the national team at the end of his contract in July.