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Australia -v- Japan World Cup Qualifier, Yokohama

Last Wednesday was a public holiday in Japan, and also the date of the Australia -v- Japan FIFA World Qualifier match at Nissan Stadium, Yokohama.  Thanks to my brother-in-law back in Melbourne, I managed to secure 2 tickets to the game.

Before we got to the ground, we had a look around Minato Mirai, in Yokohama.  (You might remember from my earlier post that this area looked really good lit up for Christmas.)

Yokohama Minato Mira

Then it was off to the stadium.

Nissan Stadium, Yokohama

Our seats were in the Away section, along with the rest of the Australian supporters.  This turned out to be a crowd of people who had travelled to Yokohama for the game, as well as ex-pats living in Japan who’d turned up to see the Socceroos play.  Actually, the ex-pat crowd turned out to be pretty big.  I was there with an old Monash friend, Simon, and joined up with Phil and his crew at the ground.

The antics of our section of the stadium were somewhere between Bay 13 and carnival.   Although it was quite cold, the crowd fired up for the national anthem (drowning out the official version), the players’ warm up, and of course, the game itself.  Of course, the inflatable kangaroo in our section of the crowd was more than a match for big flags being unfurled on the other side.  There were over 65,000 at the ground, but we were vastly outnumbered by local supporters.

The Japanese supporters unfurled a big flag.  But we had a blow-up kangaroo that more than matched their organisation.

We found that Japanese stadium food is a little more diverse than what’s available at Australian grounds.  But it’s still all unhealthy!  (Unfortunately, the beer barrel girls were better at the Tokyo Dome during the baseball in summer!)

Japanese stadium food

And the game?  Well, I’ll leave that to the professional commentators.  For what my humble opinion’s worth, I think that the Socceroos were lucky not to have a goal scored against them, but their defence was strong enough to prevent too many attacks on goal being made.  This disappointed the Japanese crowd, as they desperately wanted a win.  The 0-0 draw left the Japanese crowd a bit subdued.

The walk back to the train station, with thousands of our new friends, was rather quiet.

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