Fifa World Cup: Meet the fan who proudly supports both Japan and Spain

Tacho, who was born to a Japanese mother and Spanish father, feels incredibly privileged to be able to support two teams in the tournament

By Rituraj Borkakoty in Doha

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Supplied photos
Supplied photos

Published: Mon 19 Dec 2022, 1:26 PM

The World Cup, the most incredible event on this planet, can make you feel unique emotions. In the early stages of this wonderful tournament in Qatar, this reporter bumped into a Japanese woman, Yurika, whose husband is a German named Oliver.

I met them moments after Japan caused one of the greatest upsets in this tournament with a shock 2-1 victory over four-time champions Germany.

Yurika’s face was brimming with joy and happiness after Japan had just beaten one of the biggest teams in world football. And yet she was respectful of her German husband Oliver’s emotions.

Then I came across a young football fan, Tacho, who was half Japanese and half Spanish.

Tacho was born in Zambia to a Japanese mother and a Spanish father.

This young man says he is incredibly proud of being able to support two teams in an event like World Cup.

But it was during Japan’s match against Spain, which the Asians went on to win 2-1 in another major upset, that Tacho realized that he was a bigger Japan fan.

“That match was so complicated for me. But once I reached the stadium, I realized that I am a bigger Japan fan than Spain fan,” Tacho told this reporter.

“Maybe because I have grown up in Japan with my mother, my parents have been separated. So I was actually supporting them in the stadium."

“When Japan scored the goal, I was so happy. When Spain got the goal, I was not so happy.”

But he feels incredibly privileged to be able to support two teams in the World Cup.

“I am just happy for that. Japan is not the best country in football, but they are always fighting to be good when they play against the big teams,” he said.

“Spain are obviously very strong traditionally. So I can enjoy the Spanish matches.”

Tacho doesn’t have much memory of the 2002 World Cup which was co-hosted by Japan and South Korea, apart from remembering the impact of David Beckham.

“I have faint memories of that World Cup. Of course, I remember David Beckham, who was hugely popular in our country back then,” he said.

But his best memory is the 2010 World Cup when the star-studded Spain won the big trophy with their brand of stylish football.

“The 2010 World Cup in South Africa, oh my God, it was the best World Cup for me. Not only Spain, Japan were also in the tournament. That team of Japan was the best Japanese team in history. There were so many good players,” he said.

“But that Spain team was the best of the best, among the best teams in history. So 2010 was special for me.”

And this World Cup in Qatar will also hold a special place in his heart.

“This is the first World Cup in this region, so it’s a new era in football. I am just so happy to be here,” he said.

“It’s not a usual World Cup. It’s very special. I think Qatar worked really hard to make this a very successful tournament.

“You could feel the effort they have taken here. It’s amazing. I think it’s been the best World Cup so far.”


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