World Cup 2018: Japan's Keisuke Honda retires from international football

Keisuke Honda
Honda became the first Japan player to score in three World Cups after netting the equaliser in a 2-2 group H draw with Senegal

Japan football legend Keisuke Honda has announced his retirement from international football after his side were knocked out of the World Cup.

The 32-year-old midfielder said he was bowing out along with captain Makoto Hasebe, 34, after their dramatic 3-2 last 16 defeat by Belgium on Monday.

The former AC Milan and CSKA Moscow man said he was making way for the next generation of Japanese players.

"They will make new history for Japanese football," Honda said.

Honda tweeted his farewell

Honda, who scored 37 times in 98 appearances for his country, was used as a substitute in all Japan's games at what was his third World Cup.

Midfielder Hasebe, who plays in Germany for Eintracht Frankfurt, made 114 appearances for Japan.

"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," the captain said in a post on Instagram.

Japan's squad was one of the oldest at the World Cup, with an average age of over 28.

Makoto Hasebe
Hasebe has been playing his club football in Germany since 2007 after starting his career with Urawa Red Diamonds in Japan

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