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Japan veterans Keisuke Honda, Makoto Hasebe announce international retirement

Honda, Hasebe step down from Japan
© Reuters
Japan veterans Keisuke Honda and Makoto Hasebe announce their international retirement following their World Cup round-of-16 exit.

Japan veterans Keisuke Honda and Makoto Hasebe have confirmed their international retirement following their round-of-16 exit from the World Cup.

Akira Nishino's side let a 2-0 lead against Belgium slip on Monday night as the Red Devils scored three goals in the last half-hour to reach the quarter-finals of the tournament in Russia.

Japan will now return home after being knocked out by Roberto Martinez's side, and Honda and Hasebe have confirmed that they will not be returning to play for their country in the future.

"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," Honda told reporters.

"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."

Japan captain Hasebe also spoke out on his international retirement after the game against Belgium.

"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."

Honda and Hasebe have 212 appearances between them for their national team.

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Japan manager Akira Nishino on May 30, 2018
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