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Team spirit won us the title, says Japan's Suzuki

Tabriz: Head coach Ryuji Suzuki’s normally stern expression was replaced with a smile after Japan clinched the AFC U-20 Futsal Championship title on Saturday.

Suzuki had every reason to be overjoyed as Japan clinched their inaugural AFC U-20 Futsal Championship title in swashbuckling fashion, detroning 2017 champions Islamic Republic of Iran in the process with a sizzling 8-4 win the semi-finals.

They were always on top in the final against Afghanistan, as goalkeeper Tabuchi Hiroshi’s 38th minute effort sealed the 3-1 win after Takahashi Yudai and Osawa Masashi had scored in the first half.

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“I think that all the players did their best from the first minute to the last,” said Suzuki.

“I also want to express my appreciation for the immense support the team has received back home.”

While goalkeeper Hiroshi was a standout player, Suzuki credited Japan’s victory to a collective effort.

“Of course he was one of the best players today, after saving so many shots.

“But the reason he made so many great plays is because all the players supported him as a family, which is our philosophy.”

At the end of Japan’s campaign, 13 of their 14-men squad had at least one goal to their name, an impressive feat and the major reason why Japan lifted the trophy after their 2017 campaign had ended in the quarter-finals.

Suzuki said every player in the Japan squad shared the same philosophy and their title-winning run in Tabriz would go a long way in helping their careers.

“All the players are MVPs because everyone scored, even Hiroshi. We don’t have a star player. We achieved success because of the unity in the team.”

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