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Japan: Rugby World Cup quarter-final spot gives fans reason to smile after Typhoon Hagibis

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From Becky Grey
BBC Sport in Yokohama
Red and white stripes anywhere, dogs in tops, wigs, paper scrum caps along with a smile. Always a smile.
Japan may have qualified by beating against Scotland for a first World Cup quarter-final but their position was secured by their fans as the best in the tournament.
It has not been an easy 48 hours for the country. Japans biggest typhoon at 61 years sifting through areas leaving at least 23 people dead.
On Sunday morningthe skies had cleared, the sun shone and Japan revealed the resilience it can take to live in a country.
Among enthusiasts, talk turned to if the team World Cup game against Scotland would proceed or not.
Videos on media on Saturday had shown the Japan team wading through knee-high water for to the area at their training floor.
Regardless of the pitch, the Scottish Rugby Union had made their feelings clear on a rescue and Japan head coach Jamie Joseph demanded more respect saying they were desperate to play with too.
Images on roads submerged in flood water and also houses with roofs blown offs news created play seem impossible and submerged flooding plains across the stadium didnt look promising either.
There was no need for uncertainty given the creativity of the Japanese. The stadium was secure and therefore was constructed on stilts. The game would go ahead.
The scenes in Yokohama should put those thoughts out of peoples minds, although some may have contested the decision to bring the tournament where intense weather can make games unplayable.
Fans flocked to the ground hours along with the scene they created was that the ray of pleasure the country.
An increasing number of white and red tops gathered. A feeling of history was in the atmosphere and the locals understood it – long queues formed for programmes as well as the product shop.
Japan may have been about to seal a place and everybody wanted a souvenir to take away with them.
A historical win against South Africa at the 2015 World Cup was the catalyst for greater interest in the Japan group however no catalyst was needed at this tournament.
Japan shirts have been sold out at stores throughout the country and the expected television audience for Sundays game has been an estimated people.
The World Cup could have been a darker spot if this game was cancelled. But the jeopardy around whether it could be performed or not, combined with the fact that everyone was forced to devote the past 24 hours indoors for their own security, intended supporters were ecstatic to be present.
The additional time gave time to fans to organize their outfits – a shirt is simply not sufficient for supporters.
There were wigs at the colours of the Japan flag, rugby-themed kimonos and rugby earrings on display.
And of course Bak-san, a fan who has earned star status in this World Cup by painting shirts on his chest at matches, created an appearance.
A rendition of Flower of Scotland broke out as lovers waited at front of the ground and it was not just Scottish fans.
As the players surfaced on the pitch In the stadium, the feeling of anticipation heightened. A moments silence was held in memory of those who had died in the typhoon and the poignancy was transported through the Japanese national anthem.
The television cameras showed tear-stained faces in the crowd as they sang the sombre song with a degree of emotion not seen in this a reserved and polite culture.
Chants ofNipponbroke out after kick-off and every hit was fulfilled with a cheer, except for tackles made by New Zealand-born Michael Leitch.
Each time that the Brave Blossoms captain a hero in his adopted nation ever since this win from South Africa – so much as approached the ball a long cry ofLeitch would ring out.
Even scrum penalties won shipped the audience and it was not only those inside the stadium invested in turn and every twist of the game.
At Oita, in which Wales and England will perform their quarter-finals, bars were full of screaming fans, while in the conclusion, fans streamed into the middle of the road in celebration at Tokyo Shibuya crossing.
Japan were also a team with a nation behind them and those inside the arena at Yokohama made themselves noticed.
There have been howls of pain because Scotlands Finn Russell went over for the first try shrieks of delight when Japan drew level with the score of Kotaro Matsushima.
Lovers had already won many hearts, but to the pitch Japan play a loveable brand of rugby and yet another glorious offload meant Keita Inagaki was another guy.
Kenki Fukuoka, who was eventually given his man of the match award by fellow Japanese sporting Naomi Osaka, scored two and it felt apparent that Japan had earned a spot in the previous eight.
But WP Nels attempt for Scotland seven moments ramped up spirits and the anxiety reached their lowest level after a leaky defence let Zander Fagerson through.
The audience willed Japan on, roaring relentlessly for this games last five minutes and regrouped. Before the ball has been kicked into the stands, they counted the last five seconds down and they burst into tears ecstasy and, in some cases.
The response to the win from both players and fans showed that this match was closing than a pool game for Japan.
The celebrations continued for half an hour fans chanted the name of their country in response and after full-time as the group lined up to bow to every facet of the scene.
The players and the crowd behind them gathered together before forming a circle and singing, maybe perhaps not wanting their time on the pitch to finish.
Finally, only seven players have been abandoned kneeling at a huddle. And since they eventually left the pitch, it was using a joyous wave to the crowd.
Those in Yokohama on Sunday smiled, although Its been a stressful 48 hours to the Japanese population. And they have even more reason to.
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