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The 2002 World Cup season was one of the most memorable and frenzied times in Japan. The whole country went crazy over soccer, especially while watching the Japan team.
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As the World Cup drew close, Japan braced for the expected onslaught of foreign hooligans smashing up its stores and raping its daughters.
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To the great surprise of most Japanese the foreign supporters turned out to be wonderful and friendly people who love to mix with the natives.
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The Japanese have literally embraced them, often supporting the visiting teams as enthusiastically as if they were their own.
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Meet the wonderful soccer fans of World Cup 2002 in these extraordinary photos of ordinary people.
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Shizuoka Ecopa Satdium on June 21, 2002. England vs. Brazil. Photos by Mariko Hinaga.
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Megastar David Beckham was with England.
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Shizuoka Ecopa Stadium, Beckham on the screen.
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The final match of the 2002 World Cup was held in Yokohama on June 30, 2002. The closest train station to the stadium was Shin-Yokohama Station. Happy Brazil supporters show off their tickets to the World Cup final.
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Pretty Brazilian supporter.
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Without question, there were many more fans and supporters of Brazil than Germany. Yellow and green T-shirts far outnumbered Germany's colors.
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Face painters were on hand to paint litle flags on supporters.
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Flag painting.
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German flag on her cheek and the Brazilian flag on her belly.
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Besides the Brazilian and German flags, this woman went one step further with a Japanese flag on her arm.
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The streets leading to the stadium had a party-like atmosphere.
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Going to the stadium. The line was long, but it progressed quickly and smoothly.
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Nearing the stadium gate.
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Supporters of both teams have a friendly shout down.
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A well-known newscaster from Brazil speaks with a few Brazilians.
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Everyone is cheering in front of the TV camera from Brazil.
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Brazilian supporter.
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Supporters of Brazil and Germany side-by-side.
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Everyone lingered and posed for pictures with the stadium in the background. Unfortunately, I had no tickets. I heard that scalpers were selling a pair of tickets for 1 million yen. Too much for me.
 
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