My tribe

Japan begin preparations for friendly with mark of respect for Matsuda

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.

"I'm sure there were so many things he still wanted to achieve. Everyone is devastated," CSKA Moscow star Keisuke Honda told the Japan Times after the 90-minute session.

"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.

 The game is about opinions. Make yours heard! Join the nation on Facebook today:

About the author

Dave Williams

Have your say
  • Add your favourite leagues and clubs
  • Build your own personal news stream
  • Easily share your favourite stories
  • Connect with what your friends are saying

Select your favourite
leagues and clubs
to get started.

Already part of MyTribe?