Japan captain Hasebe retiring

Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku

Japan captain, Makoto Hasebe, on Tuesday announced his retirement from worldwide football, just a day after the Samurai Blue were knocked out of the 2018 World Cup by Belgium.

Japan suffered a devastating loss against Belgium in the knock-out round of the World Cup, after leading the game 2-0 with just 25 minutes remaining in the second half. "So I understand I'm being self-centered by announcing this", the 34-year-old, who finishes his career with 114 worldwide caps, said.

"I am happy, because we have a lot of good young players, and now it is their turn to write the history of Japanese football". That's the reality. To be perfectly honest, I wanted to take everyone to the next round, but I couldn't get the job done.

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. "I can't imagine [playing] four years from now", the 32-year-old said after Japan's match against Belgium.

"The time I walked with you [the Japanese fans] is an important treasure for me". But before they departed, they left the room completely spotless and even left a thank you note in Russian for their hosts, The Independent reports. He did not, however, say definitively he would retire from the national team entirely.

Japan will now look ahead to the 2019 Asian Cup, which is being held in the UAE.

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