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Ikeda: Teamwork key to Japan success

Chonburi: Head coach Futoshi Ikeda believes Japan’s tremendous teamwork was a key factor behind their 2-1 win over DPR Korea in Saturday’s AFC U-19 Women’s Championship Thailand 2019 final.

Yuzuki Yamamoto and Hana Takahashi both scored as Japan bagged their sixth title at this level on a night of high drama at the Chonburi Stadium.

Having seen his charges remain unbeaten throughout their campaign, a delighted Ikeda was quick to declare that his team’s tremendous teamwork had proved decisive en route to claiming the nation’s latest Continental crown.

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“I am really delighted that we are champions of this tournament, and I must congratulate my players for their success,” declared the former Urawa Red Diamonds defender.

“The real strength of this team is that we don’t have any players who stand out, all the players I have at my disposal are of a very high quality.

“When asked, all the players can play and perform a vital role and that is down to the excellent teamwork that we have within the squad.”

While clearly enjoying the triumph, Ikeda admitted that the game’s opening goal had proved crucial, adding that it had always been his intention to be on the front foot against an impressive DPR Korea outfit.

“DPR Korea played well, but at the start of the second half we got the breakthrough and that was extremely vital,” he explained.

“We always wanted to take the game to DPR Korea, we of course wanted to keep our defence tight, but it was our intention to attack and not sit back during the game.”

Final: DPR Korea vs Japan

By way of contrast, opposite number Son Sung-gwon was left rueing his team’s poor performance on a night when they failed to shine as they had done in previous matches at Thailand 2019.

“Our players did not play well enough tonight; they were unable to show their true ability and our teamwork suffered. As a result, we lost the match,” he said.

“My players did their best until the very end of the match though and we have gained invaluable experience throughout this tournament.

“We will now prepare in the best possible way for the forthcoming World Cup.”

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