Photo/IllutrationMaya Yoshida, right, and Japan head coach Hajime Moriyasu attend a news conference on Jan. 31 in Abu Dhabi. (Shinnosuke Ito)

  • Photo/Illustraion

ABU DHABI--Japanese soccer captain Maya Yoshida called for “fair play” on the pitch of the Asian Cup final against Qatar and urged everyone involved not to embarrass the continent in front of the world.

“I don’t want to see any stupid things, especially after the game, because we are representing Asia,” Yoshida said in English at a Jan. 31 news conference, touching on the fact that the Feb. 1 final will be broadcast internationally.

During the semifinal between Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, some spectators threw footwear and plastic bottles on the field after the host UAE team went down to a 4-0 defeat.

Regarding the final, Yoshida, 30, said: “I expect both teams to give 100 percent effort with fair play and show all over the world how we play. That makes another step for not only Japan but Asian football.”

His comment drew applause from the participants at the news conference.

Yoshida’s response to the last question was made completely in English and lasted for about two minutes and 30 seconds. The defender plays for Southampton of the Premier League.

He also referred to an incident in Japan’s semifinal against Iran in which midfielder Gaku Shibasaki appeared to be slapped in the face by an opposing player in the waning moments of the game.

Yoshida said a number of Iranian players he met in the hotel elevator after the game apologized for the incident involving Shibasaki.

“They apologized, and I feel that is sportsmanship and fair play,” Yoshida said.

Like a few other Arab nations, the UAE suspended diplomatic ties with Qatar in 2017, meaning Qatari fans will not be allowed to attend the final against Japan.

Felix Sanchez, the Qatari head coach, has been repeatedly asked questions about diplomatic matters. But regarding the final against Japan, he said at the Jan. 31 news conference that he was focused on having his team put in an excellent performance in the last Asian Cup game.