Arsenal star says he needs ‘time to forget about football’ after World Cup heartache

Joe Williams
Arsenal defender Takehiro Tomiyasu looks dejected

Arsenal defender Takehiro Tomiyasu says he needs to take his mind off football after Japan’s exit from the World Cup to Croatia on penalties.

2018 runners-up Croatia fell behind courtesy of Daizen Maeda’s 43rd-minute finish, before equalising through an Ivan Perisic header 10 minutes into the second half.

In the shoot-out that then followed, Livakovic kept out tame efforts from Takumi Minamino, Kaoru Mitoma and Maya Yoshida as Japan, who have never reached the World Cup quarter-finals, were unable to add another scalp after their stunning victories over Germany and Spain in the group stage.

Japan provided lots of entertainment during their stint at the tournament but Tomiyasu admits that they weren’t quite good enough against Croatia on Monday.

Tomiyasu told reporters: “It was not enough, we did not deserve to win. We were so close to achieving our aim. They were better than us.

“I can’t be proud, I am not satisfied about what happened. This is football and we need to be much, much better.”

The Arsenal squad flew out to Dubai on Monday for a warm weather training camp but Tomiyasu has been unclear as to when he will join up with his club team-mates after Monday’s heartache.

When asked when he will return to Arsenal duty, Tomiyasu said: “I don’t know.

“Hopefully I can get a bit of rest. I need time to forget about football. I need a bit of time.”

And former Premier League goalkeeper Mark Bosnich had lots of sympathy for Tomiyasu and his team-mates with Japan’s loss on penalties to Croatia a “terrible way” to go out of a tournament.

“Terrible way to lose for the Japanese players,” Bosnich said on SBS (via Fox Sports) after the match.

“Wasn’t the best of days for Croatia but they stayed in the fight, got a goal out of nowhere. What wonderful resilience, what wonderful fight.”

“It’s all about pressure,” former Australia international Craig Foster added.

“Neither team could break each other down as much as they tried. It was a very evenly matched contest, which is credit to Japan.

“In the end it was about nerve and experience. Japan folded. Folded in the pressure, in the big moment. Minamino’s penalty was really poor to get it started.

“Mitoma, very poor penalty. Yoshida’s not quite as bad – it was heading to the corner but Livakovic made a brilliant save.”

READ MORE: Japan face new ‘agony of Doha’ as their penalties fall short against Croatia