Japanese players Keisuke Honda and Makoto Hasebe retire from international football

Keisuke Honda and Makoto Hasebe, two stalwarts of the Japan side that reached the last 16 of the World Cup, have announced their retirement from international football.

Both featured in Japan's 3-2 defeat to Belgium on Monday which saw them exit the tournament. Japan led 2-0, before Belgium fought back and won the game in the last minute through
Nacer Chadli.

Following their World Cup exit, Honda said: "Today we showed how we can proceed as Japanese football.

"I might have finished my career for the national team, but I'm happy because we have many young players following us, and I think that they will make new history for Japanese football.

"This is the last World Cup for me. 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. I did everything I could. I did the best I could.

"Belgium deserved the win, but we also played as well as we possibly could. I just want to thank my team-mates."

Hasebe - who captained Japan in Russia - said: "I would like to express my gratitude to my colleagues who fought together for about 12-and-a-half years since 2006, and to all the Japanese people who supported me so much.

"The time I walked with you is an important treasure for me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

"Last but not least, I am also a supporter of the national team. Let's dream about the Japanese national team together."

Honda, 32, retires with 37 goals in 98 games for Japan, while Hasebe, 34, played 114 times.


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