Arsenal defender Takehiro Tomiyasu said he needed to 'forget about football' following Japan's elimination from the 2022 FIFA World Cup at the hands of Croatia on Monday, December 5.
The Samurai Blue lost 3-1 on penalties after playing out a 1-1 draw from open play. Takumi Minamino, Kaoru Mitoma and Maya Yoshida all saw their spot-kicks saved by Dominik Livakovic.
Daizen Maeda gave them a first-half lead with a goal in the 43rd minute before Ivan Perisic equalized for Croatia just 10 minutes after the break.
With no further goals in the match, extra-time beckoned, but there was no separating the teams even after the additional minutes.
This resulted in the tournament's first penalty shootout and Croatia prevailed once more after Japan missed three of their attempts.
Dejected from the loss, Tomiyasu said he needed time to recover from the defeat, while admitting that his team didn't deserve to win on the day.
Speaking to reporters after the game, he said (via Mirror):
"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 & we need to be much, much better.
"I don’t know [when I'll be back]. Hopefully I can get a bit of rest. I need time to forget about football. I need a bit of time."
The Japanese full-back joined the Gunners last year on a £16 million transfer from Bologna. He has made 39 appearances for the side ever since, including 32 in the Premier League.
Japan can be proud of their 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign
Japan's 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign might have come to an end but the side can be absolutely proud of themselves.
The Samurai Blue won Group E ahead of Spain and Germany, while pulling off a 2-1 comeback win against both the European giants.
Then, in the Round of 16, they pushed Croatia, the runners-up of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, all the way to the penalty shootouts.
It's no mean feat, given the gulf in quality between them and their opponents, and Japan have certainly made their fans proud.