Japan captain retiring after SWC dreams dashed

2018-07-04 10:11
Makoto Hasebe (Getty)

Tokyo - Japan captain Makoto Hasebe has announced his retirement from the national team, on the heels of the squad's heart-breaking ejection from the Soccer World Cup in a match against Belgium. 

"I have decided to end the chapter of my career with the national team with this tournament," Hasebe wrote on his Instagram account. 

The 34-year-old defensive midfielder's departure from the Blue Samurai could mean a changing of the guard for the team, with former AC Milan striker Keisuke Honda, 32, also saying he plans to retire from the national squad. 

Hasebe, who won the German Cup with Eintracht Frankfurt last season, has been on the national team for more than 12 years under five coaches. 

This year's World Cup is his third, after South Africa in 2010 and Brazil in 2014, and saw his team come heartstoppingly close to the quarter-finals before crashing out against Belgium. 

Japan were ousted after Belgium came from behind to win 3-2 in their first match in the knock-out round. 

The team will head next to the Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates early next year, and may also be looking for a new coach. 

Akira Nishino, who took over months before the World Cup after the controversial firing of his predecessor Vahid Halilhodzic, has been tight-lipped on his future plans despite reports he could be replaced.

More In This Category

Thomas Mueller says the Germans' shock early exit from the World Cup will provide "huge motivation" when he starts the new season.
Russian police have unexpectedly released Pussy Riot punk group members while they still face charges for invading the pitch at the World Cup football final.
Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has pledged his continued loyalty to the Serie A outfit amid reported interest from Europe's elite clubs.
New Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui says Gareth Bale is happy at the club and will reject any transfer move to Manchester United.