Japan Coach Alberto Zaccheroni admitted to “huge regret” at their 4-3 defeat to Italy in Recife.
“It looked like Italy-Germany in 1970,” he said of that other epic 4-3 result in the Mexico World Cup.
“Both teams played to win with great courage, technique, few misplaced passes.”
Japan had gone 2-0 up, then fought back from 3-2 down to snatch a 3-3 draw, but Sebastian Giovinco scored the winner after Zac’s men hit the woodwork twice in the same move.
“Obviously when you have the chance to win the game and moments later concede the decider there is going to be huge regret. My players deserved so much more from this match.
“The players approached this game with courage and determination, putting the vice-champions of Europe and one of the World Cup contenders under pressure.”
Japan had lost the opener 3-0 to Brazil, so this defeat means they cannot qualify for the Confederations Cup semi-final.