Bowing out with class: Japan suffer Asian Cup heartache, but still leave changing room SPOTLESS
Aiming for a fifth Asian Cup title, the Samurai Blue were undone by tournament sensations Qatar, who saw striker Almoez Ali score a stunning overhead kick to hand them an early lead.
Abdulaziz Hatem doubled Qatar's lead in the 27th minute, and while Japan reduced the arrears through Takumi Minamino's 69th-minute strike, a late penalty from Akram Afif secured Qatar’s first-ever Asian Cup title.Also on rt.com Ali's acrobatics: Striker scores stunner as Qatar shock Japan in Asian Cup Final
The despondent Japanese did not forget their good manners though, with the official Asian Cup Twitter account posting a picture after the game of the immaculate state of the Japanese dressing room - along with a 'Thank you' message in English, Japanese and Arabic.
The Japanese team won similar plaudits at the World Cup in Russia last summer, where they suffered an agonizing last 16 defeat against Belgium.
Qatar’s unlikely win came amid a backdrop of political and economic tensions with its regional neighbors.
Tournament hosts the UAE are among a group of Arab states blockading Doha over alleged links to terrorism and ties to Iran.
Qatar defeated bitter regional rivals Saudi Arabia 2-0 in the group stage, before seeing off the UAE 4-0 in a highly-charged semifinal that saw some home fans hurl objects including their shoes at Qatari players.Also on rt.com Furious UAE fans hurl SHOES at Qatar players during Asian Cup grudge match (VIDEO)
The win for the 2022 World Cup hosts sparked jubilant scenes back in Doha as the nation picked up a first major title, and at the same time got one over on their regional rivals.