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Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Japan to honour Matsuda

ESPNsoccernet staff

The Japan national team have vowed to use their upcoming friendly against South Korea to honour the memory of Naoki Matsuda, who died from a heart attack last week.

Matsuda, 34, suffered a heart attack during a 15-minute warm-up run before training with his club Matsumoto Yamaga last Tuesday. He was taken to hospital unconscious and slipped into a coma. He was placed on life support but did not regain conciousness.

Alberto Zaccheroni's squad gathered on the pitch at Atsubetsu Stadium on Monday before training to observe a moment's silence for 2002 World Cup defender. Following the session, Japan and CSKA Moscow star Keisuke Honda said Matsuda would be in the team's thoughts throughout the match.

"I'm sure there were so many things he still wanted to achieve. Everyone is devastated," Honda told Kyodo.

"All of us here watched the World Cup in Japan and South 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."

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