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RTÉ Panel Discussion Goes Viral In Japan After Spain Win

Eoin Harrington
By Eoin Harrington
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Japan have been one of the stories of a remarkable World Cup, with their group stage campaign taking in just about every twist and turn imaginable.

A shock opening day win over four-time champions Germany was followed by the Japanese themselves being shocked by Costa Rica on day two.

On the final day of the group stages, Japan pulled it out of the bag with a dramatic comeback win against 2010 champions Spain, to knock Germany out and seal top spot in their group.

The defeat of two former world champions arguably goes down as Japan's greatest ever feat at a World Cup, and the RTÉ panel were full of praise for Hajime Moriyasu's side at full-time on Thursday.

That RTÉ panel of Damien Duff and Didi Hamann have found a surprising audience, with video footage of their analysis of the Spanish game published to a Japanese YouTube channel with a huge following. The footage has risen to over a million views on YouTube, with the comments reflecting the culture of sportsmanship and passion in Japanese football.

Japan v Spain: Duff and Hamann go viral

We have to say, we didn't expect Damien Duff and Didi Hamann to be going viral in Japan during this World Cup.


The two RTÉ pundits lavished praise on the Cherry Blossoms side after their phenomenal win over Spain on Thursday. Duff effused about the work rate of the Japanese side in the face of the classic pressure from Spain:

Japan deserved to go through over the three games.

I don't think you can give it [the second goal] but, hey, sometimes you make your own luck.

I would say about Japan...they gave Spain just enough respect. Everybody plays Spain and they sit back - it looks like Japan absolutely pressed the life out of them and you don't see many teams doing that. Sometimes in life you make your own luck.

Hamann, meanwhile, said that Japan had completely exceeded expectations, and deserved huge respect for not only progressing but topping the group in the process:

It's just unbelievable. To go there and be drawn in the group of death with Costa Rica and the two European giants, and to top the group - it's phenomenal.

Video footage of the analysis was ripped and posted to a Japanese YouTube channel named "soccer peak" - and it has taken off.


We must note that the video is erroneously titled "UK commentary praises Japan National Team" - we'll have to forgive this not-so-minor mistake.

Nonetheless, the affection for the Japanese fans in the comments is wholesome to read, while some praise Duff and Hamann for their insight into how the games against Spain and Germany were won.


Japan are also well known for their sportsmanship and good spirits at international competitions, and it is remarkable to see how many comments pay tribute to the German and Spanish teams, even in Japan's moment of triumph.

One fan said: "I'm Japanese, but I love Spain and I always cheered for them, so I understand. In the second half of the match, Spain were uncharacteristically rushed and were definitely aiming for the win. Personally, I would have been happy with either of them winning, but this time it was Japan's ability to win! It was a great match!"

Another commented: "Both Spain and Germany will never cut corners no matter which country they are facing."


One fan said that they could not enjoy the "technical" side without commentary of the match, praising the input of the RTÉ panel.

The passion on display for the Japan national team was evident in their fans' comments, with one fan saying: "Tears flow every time I see the video of the come-from-behind victory following the game against Germany, I'm glad I cheered for soccer lol"

It is one of the more bizarre stories of the World Cup to see RTÉ's World Cup coverage taking off on the other side of the world. Of course, Damien Duff has a connection to Japan and World Cups, having scored in Ireland's 3-0 win over Saudi Arabia in the 2002 tournament, and bowing to the crowd in celebration. Hamann played in the final of that same tournament with Germany.


Damien Duff 2002

11 June 2002; Damien Duff of Republic of Ireland bows to the crowd after scoring his side's third goal during the FIFA World Cup Final Group E match between Republic of Ireland and Saudi Arabia at Yokohama Stadium in Yokohama, Japan. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile

Japan will face Croatia in the last 16 of the World Cup at 3:00pm Irish time on Monday afternoon - midnight on Monday night Tokyo time.

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