The face of defeat was red, the eyes wet, the gaze downcast. Yuichi Komano made a slow, sad walk through a media gauntlet behind Loftus Versfeld Stadium known as the Mixed Zone.
But there was nothing mixed about his emotions. Komano was distraught, a Blue Samurai too blue to speak, looking as if he’d let a whole nation down.
The Japanese defender’s penalty kick against Paraguay slammed off the crossbar, the only miss in the 2010 World Cup’s first overtime shootout. The South Americans advanced to the quarterfinal, 5-3 on PKs, their Cinderella story intact, while Japan’s wonderful run was halted by mere inches.
Read the rest of the story: Japan gave its nation reason to cheer