AFC President lauds Japan's Runners-Up Finish

FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Costa Rica 2022

Womens World Cup

Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has praised Japan for their valiant campaign which saw the young Nadeshiko finish second at the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Costa Rica 2022 after a 3-1 defeat to Spain in a thrilling final at the Estadio Nacional in San Jose on Sunday.

Despite falling short at the decisive hurdle, Japan were featuring in their second consecutive final following their 2018 triumph and were the third Asian side to reach back-to-back title-deciders after China PR (2004 and 2006) and DPR Korea (2006 and 2008).

Shaikh Salman said: "On behalf of the Asian football family, I would like to congratulate Japan on their commendable second-place finish at the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup 2022 in Costa Rica and for showcasing incredible resolve throughout the tournament.

"Asian sides have reached the finals on six occasions, clinching the title thrice in 10 editions and this clearly underlines our position as leaders in the women's game. I am confident this latest feat will serve as an inspiration to all our Member Associations to continue succeeding on the world's biggest stages as outlined in the AFC's Vision.

"We must also praise the Japan Football Association for their commitment towards developing a formidable youth football system that is widely admired not just in Asia, but across the world."

In a repeat of the last FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup decider, Spain defeated Japan by the same score line in France four years ago.

Despite showcasing commendable fighting spirit in the late stages, custodian Txell Font was in inspiring form to contain breakthrough starlets Maika Hamano and Yuzuki Yamamoto from orchestrating a comeback.

In the individual awards, Hamano became the second Japanese player to seize the Golden Ball after Hina Sugita in 2016 and also claimed the Silver Boot Award ahead of teammate Yamamoto who settled for the bronze, while Japan also clinched the Fair Play Award.

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