Japan: Rugby World Cup quarter-final spot gives fans reason to smile after Typhoon Hagibis

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From Becky Grey
BBC Sport in Yokohama
Red and white stripes everywhere, dogs in a grin, wigs, newspaper scrum caps along with tops. Always a smile.
Japan may have qualified by beating against Scotland for a first World Cup quarter-final however their position was long ago sealed by their fans .
It hasnt been an easy 48 hours for the nation. Japans largest typhoon in 61 years tore through many areas leaving at least 23 people dead.
But on Sunday morningthe skies had cleared, the sun shone and Japan revealed the resilience it requires to live in a nation.
Among fans, talk turned to whether the teams critical World Cup match against Scotland would go.
Videos on social websites on Saturday had shown the Japan team wading through knee-high water for to the area at their flooded training ground.
Away from the pitch, the Scottish Rugby Union had made their feelings clear about a potential rescue and Japan head coach Jamie Joseph needed respect stating they were desperate to play too.
Images on the information of roads submerged in flood water and also homes with roofs blown off made drama seem hopeless and submerged flood plains across the scene didnt look promising either.
There was no demand for doubt given the creativity of the Japanese, though. The stadium was constructed on stilts and so was safe. The game would go ahead.
The scenes at Yokohama should put those thoughts, although some may have questioned the choice to bring the tournament to a nation where such intense weather may make matches unplayable.
Fans flocked into the floor hours before kick-off and was that the ray of pleasure the nation.
More and more red and white shirts gathered. A feeling of history was from the atmosphere and it was known by the locals — extended queues formed for the merchandise store as well as programs.
Japan could have been about to seal a place at the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals for the first time and everyone needed a souvenir to take away with them.
No this catalyst was needed at this tournament, although A historical win against South Africa in the 2015 World Cup has been the catalyst for interest in the Japan group four decades ago.
Japan shirts have been sold out in stores throughout the nation and the television market for Sundays game was a estimated people.
The World Cup could have turned into a darker place if this game had been cancelled. However, the danger about not or whether it would be performed, combined with the simple fact that everyone was forced to devote the previous 24 hours indoors for their own security, intended fans were ecstatic to be present.
The time gave lovers time to plan their outfits a soccer shirt is not enough for Japanese fans.
You will find rugby-themed kimonos, wigs in the colours of the Japan flag and even earrings on display.
Not to mention a fan who has earned star status in the World Cup at games by painting shirts on his chest, Bak-san, created an appearance.
A rendition of Flower of Scotland broke out, as fans waited at the front of the floor and it wasnt Scottish fans.
As the players emerged onto the pitch the sense of anticipation heightened. A moments silence was held in memory of people whod died in the typhoon and the poignancy was transported through to the Japanese national anthem.
The television cameras showed faces from the crowd as they staged the sombre song with a level of emotion not seen in this a reserved and polite culture.
Chants ofNipponbroke out straight after kick-off and every hit was met with a cheer that was huge, except for tackles made by New Zealand-born Michael Leitch.
Each time the Brave Blossoms captain a hero in his country since then win from South Africa — much as approached the ball a cry ofLeitch would ring outside.
Even scrum penalties obtained sent the audience and it was not just those inside the arena invested in each twist and turn of the match.
In Oita, in which England and Wales will perform their quarter-finals, pubs were filled with screaming fans, while at the end, supporters streamed into the middle of the street in celebration in Tokyo Shibuya crossing.
Japan were a team with a country behind them and those inside the stadium in Yokohama made themselves heard.
There have been howls of pain as Scotlands Finn Russell went over for the try then shrieks of pleasure when Japan drew level with Kotaro Matsushimas score.
Lovers had won many hearts, but on the pitch Japan play a loveable brand of rugby too and yet another pun meant Keita Inagaki was the next man.
Kenki Fukuoka, that was given his man of the match award by fellow sporting Naomi Osaka, scored and it felt apparent that Japan had made a place in the past eight.
But the attempt for Scotland seven moments of WP Nel attained their lowest level following a leaky defence allowed Zander Fagerson through.
The audience regrouped and willed Japan on, roaring relentlessly for this games last five minutes. They counted the five seconds down before the ball was kicked into the racks and they exploded into tears ecstasy and, sometimes.
The answer to the win from both fans and players revealed this game was final than the pool match for Japan.
The post-match parties continued for half an hour after fulltime as the team pushed up on bow to every facet of the stadium and supporters chanted their countrys name in reaction.
Before forming a ring and singing, perhaps not needing their time on the pitch to end the players assembled for a photograph.
Using Leitch performing the speaking, eventually, just seven players were abandoned kneeling in a huddle. And since they eventually abandoned the pitch, it turned out having a joyful wave to the audience.
Its been a stressful 48 hours to the Japanese people, but those in Yokohama on Sunday were still smiling. And they have reason to.
Japans magnificent World Cup victory over Scotland to reach the quarter-finals for the first time is the ray of delight that the nation requires after Typhoon Hagibis.
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