Tokyo: The Japanese media on Sunday slammed their team's 3-0 drubbing at the hands of footballing powerhouse Brazil as the Asian champions came crashing back to earth following the high of World Cup qualification.
"They have suffered a complete defeat by the football kingdom Brazil," the Nippon TV network said in a noontime news programme hours after the Confederations Cup opener in Brasilia ended in the early morning Japan time.
The phrase was echoed by other media outlets as they reacted to the heavy loss to the five-time world champions.
Kyodo News recalled that Japan's key players had vowed to use the tournament, which comprises the best teams of each continent, as a springboard for next year's World Cup, also in Brazil.
"But after Brazil brought Japan crashing back down to earth on Saturday, the Asian champions might be thinking twice," it said.
CSKA Moscow and Japan midfield dynamo Keisuke Honda agreed.
"It was a complete defeat today. We must realise where we are in terms of capability," he told Japanese television. "But we still have two games left so we need to refocus ourselves."
The Blue Samurai had wished to do better than a 4-0 loss to Brazil in a friendly in neutral Poland last October, but instead now have eight defeats with two draws in 10 games against the South Americans.
"There's just too big of a gap in individual quality," said Inter-Milan defender Yuto Nagatomo. "Look at it this way: is anyone on Japan good enough to play for Brazil? The answer is no, not one."
"If each and every one of us doesn't try to become the best player he can possibly be, we won't be able to bridge the gap in the year ahead."
Japan became the first nation to qualify for the 2014 World Cup along with hosts Brazil when they finished at the top of an Asian group this month.
Coached by former AC Milan boss Alberto Zaccheroni, they hope to reach the quarter-final stage in Brazil for their best ever World Cup finish.
At the Confederations Cup group stage, the Blue Samurai will face Italy on Wednesday and London Olympic champions Mexico on June 22.
Japan have played Italy once in the past, in a 2001 home friendly that ended in a 1-1 draw.
"Our only option is to win the next two games. A draw won't be good enough," Nagatomo said. "But if we play the way we did today, there's no way we're going to win our next game."