Satire posts about 'Japan team dressing room after World Cup loss' mislead online

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Images of a trashed dressing room have been shared hundreds of times in social media posts that misleadingly claim they show the Japanese national football team's dressing room after losing a match to Costa Rica at the Qatar World Cup. The photos in fact circulated since March 2022 in news reports about the Italian national football team leaving their dressing room in a dirty state following a World Cup play-off defeat to North Macedonia.

"Japan's locker room after the Costa Rica match," reads the Korean-language title of a post shared on Gasengi, a popular South Korean internet forum, on November 27.

The post features what appears to be a screenshot of a tweet from the account @TrollFootball that generally posts satirical content about the sport.

Images in the screenshot show a trash-filled dressing room.

"When they lose, they don't clean up," the post's caption continues.

Screenshot of the misleading claim shared on Gasengi.com. Captured November 29, 2022.

The images were shared online after Japan was defeated by Costa Rica 1-0 in a group stage match at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar on November 27.

Earlier, following their 2-1 upset victory over Germany on November 25, Japanese players earned praise from FIFA for leaving their locker room spotless.

Identical images were also shared over 1,000 times with a similar claim in Korean-language social media posts here, here and here; and in English here and here.

While some social media users thought the claim was a joke, others were misled.

"This shows how two-faced Japan is," wrote one user.

"Not surprising, their clean-up after the Germany match was just for show," wrote another.

The images predate the 2022 World Cup; they show a dressing room used by the Italian national football team after a match in Palermo, Italy, in March 2022.

Old images

Through reverse searches on Google, AFP found the images correspond to frames of a video shared in a report by Italian sports newspaper Corriere dello Sport on March 26.

The report says the video shows a dressing room for the "Azzurri" -- the nickname for the Italian national football team.

Below are screenshot comparisons of the images shared in one of the misleading posts (left) and the video (right):

Screenshot comparisons of the images shared in one of the misleading posts (left) and the video (right)

Corriere della Sera, Italy's best-selling newspaper, reported here the video was filmed at the Renzo Barbera Stadium in Palermo after the Italian national team lost a match to North Macedonia.

The surprise 1-0 defeat meant Italy would be absent from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar -- the second straight World Cup they had failed to qualify for having also missed out on the 2018 tournament in Russia.

Multiple photos of the Renzo Barbera Stadium dressing room posted online by Palermo FC on Twitter and its website match the room seen in the video.

Moreover, a photo of the Japanese national team's dressing room during their match with Costa Rica at Qatar's Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, as seen in a tweet from the Asian Cup's official Twitter account, does not resemble the trashed dressing room shared alongside the misleading claims.

December 3, 2022 This article was corrected to say the 2022 World Cup was the second straight World Cup Italy had failed to qualify for, not the first since 1958 as previously stated.
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