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[Awards Review]








▶ Japan lay down Olympic marker [2024/05/06   ]

When Paris 2024 gets underway in late July, only five nations will have made more appearances at the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament than Japan’s even dozen.

Italy (15), USA (15), Brazil (14), France (14), Egypt (13) are the only nations that will have featured more often than the Japanese who first participated in 1936, when they stunned a powerhouse Sweden outfit in the first round; a victory still known as ‘the miracle of Berlin.’

The bronze-medal winning team from Mexico 1968 is widely regarded as the greatest Japanese side of all time and the current crop of young stars will be gunning to change the colour of that medal as they head to Paris as the first two-time continental champions.

That came courtesy of a 1-0 victory over Uzbekistan in a tightly contested final of the AFC U-23 Asian Cup in Doha.

In a match of limited chances it was on-loan Tokyo Verdy winger Fuki Yamada who provided the game’s telling moment as he scored in the 91st minute, with Uzbekistan having a penalty saved in the tenth minute of a nervy period of stoppage time.
How it finished

Champions: Japan (Paris 2024 qualifier)
Runners-up: Uzbekistan (Paris 2024 qualifier)
Third-place: Iraq (Paris 2024 qualifier)
Fourth-place: Indonesia (Paris 2024 play-off)
The stars

Tournament MVP: Joel Fujita (Japan)
Top scorer: Ali Jasim (Iraq)
Best goalkeeper: Abduvohid Nematov (Uzbekistan)

What they said

"It was a tough match and the players really did well, it wasn’t the just the players though but the staff and everyone around the team working together to achieve this result and we can now look forward to the Paris Olympics." - Go Oiwa, Japan coach

"Winning the MVP prize isn’t just an award for me but rather for the whole team and winning this championship has filled us with great belief heading to Paris." - Joel Fujita, tournament MVP

“We’re very disappointed to lose the chance of direct qualification but it’s one of the two chances we have. Now we have one more chance against Guinea and that’s it. We need to win that game to go to the Olympics but it won’t be easy with everyone being very tired and having little injuries.” - Ivar Jenner, Indonesia midfielder
What's next

    Japan join Paraguay, Mali and Israel in Group D at the Olympics
    Uzbekistan slot in Group C alongside Spain, Egypt and the Dominican Republic
    Iraq feature in Group B with Argentina, Morocco and Ukraine
    Indonesia face Guinea in the AFC-CAF play-off in France on 9 May

- The origianl text resource is from FIFA Official Website

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