The Japanese national team will play against Croatia at midnight on the 6th in the first round of the final tournament of the World Cup Qatar Football Tournament.

Expectations are rising in various places for the first time in history to advance to the best 8.

What victory or defeat did the sea otter predict?

Lilo, a 15-year-old sea otter from the Marine World Uminonakamichi aquarium in Higashi-ku, Fukuoka, is predicting the outcome of the World Cup Qatar tournament against Japan.

Of the two colors of flying discs thrown into the pool by the keepers, if you choose red, Japan wins, and if you choose white, your opponent wins.

Lilo chose red in the first match against Germany in the first round of the league, and his prediction of Japan's victory was correct. I expected to score points.

On the afternoon of the 5th, Lilo predicted victory or defeat ahead of the Croatia match.

Before the prediction, Lilo was holding his head in a corner of the pool and was worried.

However, when it came to the prediction stage, Lilo chose the red disc without hesitation and delivered it to the keepers.

Miyuki Tachibana, a zookeeper, said, ``Lilo started to move to retrieve the red disc right before he threw it, so I felt his determination.I want to support Japan with the same feeling as Lilo.'' I was sending an email.

Postcard at alma mater

At Arima Junior High School in Miyamae Ward, Kawasaki City, the alma mater of Japanese representatives Aoi Tanaka and Kaoru Mitoma, students wrote messages of support for the two.

In junior high school, a white sheet about 1.5 meters long and 3 meters wide was pasted on the bulletin board in the school with the words, "Senpai Tanaka, Kaoru Mitoma, I'm rooting for you."

They were able to write messages of support, and the students were writing one after another with their hopes for the Croatia match, such as ``Please score the winning goal'' and ``Please do your best to aim for the best 8''.

A male student in the second year of junior high school who belongs to the soccer club said, "Ever since I was watching a J-League match in my hometown, I've admired the two of them. I'm looking forward to seeing the two of them score a goal again." .

Teacher Naoko Komatsu, who was in charge of physical education classes for the two at the time, said, "Even in physical education classes, the two of them had a strong desire to have their friends enjoy themselves. I want them to enjoy their dream World Cup to their heart's content. I was talking.

Cutlet sandwiches at the local market

We also support the local community.

The "Saginuma Shotenkai" in Miyamae-ku, Kawasaki City calls Mitoma and Tanaka "Saginuma Brothers" and supports them.

Shortly after noon on the 5th, at the sports gym at the venue, the staff of the store association brought in a large screen and raised a flag with the words "From Saginuma to the world" in preparation.

A local tonkatsu restaurant brought a cutlet sandwich to the staff who prepared it, and the staff were enthusiastic, saying, "Absolutely cutlet!"

Public viewing has a capacity of 50 people, and admission is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Kazuo Sugawara, chairman of the Saginuma Shotenkai, said, "These two are the pride of the region, and I have nothing but gratitude. In the match, I would like to see the two of them score goals together like they did in the match against Spain. The whole area will be excited. I would like you to win and advance to the best 8."

Ale with Yatagarasu amulet

"Kyoto Kumano Shrine" in Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City enshrines the legendary three-legged bird "Yatagarasu" which is the symbol of the Japan Football Association.

For about 25 years, the shrine has been offering amulets certified by the Japan Football Association, designed with the emblem used on the uniforms of the Japan national team.

The amulet is based on samurai blue and white and has the Yatagarasu embroidered on it.

A woman in her 50s who visited with her daughter from Osaka said, "My daughter and I will wear uniforms of our favorite athletes and support each other."

Also, her teenage daughter said, "I came to the shrine because I wanted a lucky charm. I want you to win against Croatia and even win the championship."

Cheers from the coach of the alma mater soccer club

Midfielder Junya Ito's alma mater's soccer team also sent a cheer.

Ito is from Yokosuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture, and joined the soccer club of Kanagawa University.

Mr. Torisaburo Omori, who is now the coach, scouted Ito to the soccer club when he was in high school.

(Kanagawa University Soccer Club Director Tosaburo Omori)

“I was instantly captivated by his speed and flexibility, and I felt that he was different from other players. , His dedication to the team stands out, and I feel that he has grown as a person.As in the first goal against Spain, he showed an unrefined attitude toward playing other than his own goal, and was able to contribute to the team's victory. Of course, I would be happy if he scored, but I want him to continue playing unrefinedly for the team from the beginning to the end of the game, just like he did in the previous games.”

Expectations rising locally

On the 5th, the day of the match, supporters wearing Japanese uniforms could be seen in the tourist market in the center of Doha from the morning, and there were voices of expectations for the team to advance to the quarter-finals for the first time.

A woman who has been watching the match locally since the first match in Japan said, "She advanced to the final tournament, so I applied to the company for an extension of the holiday. I definitely want her to win."

Also, a quartet of men who arrived in Qatar this morning said, "I think Kaoru Mitoma will cut in and create chances. It won't be easy, but I want them to win and decide the best eight." A boy in the first year of junior high school said, "Ritsu Doan has scored many shots in the past, so I want him to score today as well."

A woman wearing a kimono with the emblem of the Japan national team said, "I have high hopes for the childhood friend duo of Mitoma and Aoi Tanaka, and I think they will score today as well. I want them to win 2-1. I would like to come back to support them in the semifinals with."