The World Cup is top, and Ireland just wasn't good enough.
Saturday's loss caused so many questions: What went wrong? Why did he go wrong? Who was to blame? Where do they go from here?
Ireland's tactical naivety seemed to them. They had to control the game in the second half so much time was spent on the back foot in terms of power consumption. They had to hit the ball even harder.
For me, the blame is on the players. There was a lack of leadership when Ireland was on the ropes. There was complacency in the performance, a feeling that they expected things to happen.
From a management standpoint, there is not all that you would do differently. The team selection was strong; bringing 170 caps to the back three with two first-choice players, he said a lot. There was a lot of respect for the hosts. To say otherwise is simply untrue.
Had I called the recordings I probably would have introduced Joey Carber earlier, that's the only thing I would do differently.
International Rugby Bulletin
Carberi may be the younger Jack Cardi in four years, but he knows the dimensions of this global phase that is slightly better than the Conacht halftime, whose performance dropped after a promising quarter.
Carber shooting the ball in the end showed his calm, it was absolutely the right thing. Ireland is hanging on and that losing a bonus can still be significant.
Sexton's presence on the ground would help in such attempts. The same was evident after the demoralizing defeat at Twinham last month.
His demanding nature gets a little more than the players around him and focuses the minds of the task at hand. He knows how to steer the boat through unusual waters better than anyone in the squad. Without it, Ireland got seawater.
Read more: Sexton: We can get injured this week, but he will stay until the end of the tournament
They looked dead on their feet. The shorter turnaround on the emotional height of Scotland's game seemed a factor despite being well-marked.
Doing the right mentality for successive tournament scenario matches is much harder than people might realize. Discovering the appropriate emotional terrain can be tricky.
The most disappointing aspect of the performance for me, again with Scotland's victory so fresh in memory, was the performance of the pack, especially the back row. Ireland lacked dynamism in a battle that seemed to be heavily weighted in their favor.
Ireland was upgraded to the floor and the benefits. And when they really needed the set piece to maintain the solid shape, a crack appeared in the ridge that previously looked as secure as the Japanese train layout.
After Japan hit the front in the second half Ireland built a promising pass game. They made entry by chasing and interfering with Japanese defense. That was the way the hosts overcame it, especially when things didn't click in the attack, but Ireland changed, increased ownership and barely got another shot.
Japan deserves all the praise it deserves. It was a great performance, one so far removed from their nerve-wracking performance against Russia.
They held the ball well and demonstrated excellent skills, punctuality and fitness. Their attitude was correct; one could see how prepared they were for Ireland.
They got things right tactically, running the ball back, instead of going into a kick-off, they knew they were going to lose. And when they saw the Irish players shaking from the air, they ran the ball again.
Japan's approach was summed up with the play before the final score of the game. They had a poor drink in their own & # 39; 22 & # 39; ideal platform to pull back and squeeze some life out of the clock. But they held on to the guns and ran the ball again, eventually engineering a penalty for New Tamura.
The composition on the side of Jamie Joseph Joseph was the element that most impressed me.
Four years ago against South Africa they chased the game for most of the match just to hit the front in the 84th minute.
On this occasion they had plenty of time to think about significant success. They understood it and never let it slip. It's a deep belief among this group that they can do something special at this tournament.
For them, however, the challenges will now be dense and fast. It will be interesting to see how they handle increased levels of expectation. Turning to Pool A may not be done yet.
It is desperately deflated after the highs of Scotland's performance. Ireland, even playing sub-pair, should have had more than enough to beat Japan on the track.
There was probably too much talk about playing South Africa in the quarter-finals after Ireland's initial victory. I hold my hands because I was guilty of it myself. But we must also remember that Joe Schmidt was wary of Japan during the construction. He certainly wasn't the one who built the fight with Boxing.
The Irish coach said Japan was "dangerous if it got the pace" and insisted "we will not talk too much about South Africa". They were experts, fans and journalists. Many of us came to mind.
The quarterly conversation should stop now. The narrative about the games in Russia and Samoa has changed, but some of the requirements remain the same; need to take some breaks ahead this week and Sexton needs time on the field.
The team selection against Samoa will probably have to be stronger than some might have hoped, but the situation has brought the team itself.
Irish confidence has shaken and World Cup hopes have diminished, but at least they have the opportunity to make things right.