This week has provided ample opportunity for all of us who doubted Japan's ability to reach the Asian Cup final to take a long, deep drink from the fountain of hubris.

Few expected Japan to defeat Iran, the heavily favored Asia No. 1 which entered the United Arab Emirates as a strong contender to claim its first continental title in 43 years.

Even fewer could have predicted the way in which it would happen, with Team Melli comically self-destructing in the second half and the Samurai Blue flexing their way to a 3-0 win on two goals by Yuya Osako and an emphatic dagger by Genki Haraguchi.