Japan’s Kagawa bathes with teammates to wash away blues
Shinji Kagawa was so dejected after Japan lost their World Cup opener that his teammates invited him to jump in the tub together to wash away the blues.
Striker Yoshito Okubo offered the Manchester United player some consoling words during the soak, Japanese media reported on Thursday.
Defender Yuto Nagatomo was also in the tub.
Kagawa had little impact as Japan was beaten 1-2 by Ivory Coast in their Group C game, and Okubo gave him the naked truth about his performance.
“I spoke with Shinji,” Okubo told the Nikkan Sports daily. “He was really depressed but he’s looking forward now. If he doesn’t do the business, Japan has no chance.”
Japan will face Greece in a must-win match on Thursday.
“You were absolutely useless,” Okubo was quoted as saying to the mercurial midfielder as they soaked at their training base in Itu, in the northeast of Sao Paulo.
“You really were. But don’t get down about it. You can’t turn back the clock so put a smile on your face.
"Get it out of your system.”
Nude communal bathing is a long-established tradition in Japan, which has an abundance of hot springs.
But the national team have put their own spin on it, sometimes holding player meetings in the tub.