Japan mourns loss of World cup hero

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Updated: August 5, 2011

Japenese football has been rocked by the death of Naoki Matsuda, who passed away two days after suffering a heart attack during training with his club, Matsumoto Yamaga.

The 40 times capped defender, who was just 34 years old, was a sporting hero in Japan and played in all four of Japan’s matches as they achieved a historic place in the last 16 at the 2002 FIFA World Cup™ on home soil

On hearing the new FIFA President Sepp Blatter wrote to the president of the Japanese football association, Junji Ogura to express his sympathy’s at the death of Matsuda saying “It is with a sad heart that I write to you today, having learned of the tragic passing of Naoki Matsuda – the legendary defender of the national team of Japan.

“On behalf of FIFA and the worldwide family of football, I wish to extend our condolences to you, to the Japanese football community and, most importantly, to Naoki Matsuda’s friends and loved ones. Please let them know that today the football community stands by their side.”

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