Japan began their training session for Wednesday's friendly with Korea Republic by paying tribute to former international Naoki Matsuda who passed away recently. Alberto Zaccheroni's charges gathered around the centre circle at the Atsubetsu Stadium before training to observe a moment's silence for the 2002 World Cup defender, reports the official AFC website.
"All of us here watched the (2002) World Cup in Japan and Korea, and have been influenced by the way he played. In fact it is because of how well Matsuda played that we are all here today. I'm so grateful for that."
"We should not look at this as the end. Matsuda's death has to represent the start of something. We have to take his spirit with us and move forward," Honda added.
Japan Football Association technical director Hiromi Hara said he is looking at ways to honour Matsuda at the friendly.