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Former Japan international Naoki Matsuda dies

Associated Press
In this Oct. 31, 2010 photo, then Yokohama F Marinos player Naoki Matsuda, front left, plays during a soccer match in Yokohama, near Tokyo. Former Japan international Matsuda died Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011, two days after suffering a cardiac arrest during training, according to Japanese news agency Kyodo. He was 34. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT, NO LICENSING IN CHINA, FRANCE, HONG KONG, JAPAN AND SOUTH KOREA
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In this Oct. 31, 2010 photo, then Yokohama F Marinos player Naoki Matsuda, front left, plays during a …

TOKYO (AP) — Former Japan international football player Naoki Matsuda died Thursday, two days after suffering a cardiac arrest during training.

The 34-year-old Matsuda had been in critical condition after collapsing Tuesday during practice with his club, Matsumoto Yamaga.

"He passed away today at 1:06 p.m.," Yamaga president Hiroshi Otsuki said. "Since Tuesday there has been an outpouring of support from Matsuda fans all over Japan."

Matsuda played 40 times for Japan, including at the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea. He also played 385 J-League games for the Yokohama F Marinos from 1995 to 2010, helping the team to three league titles.

Matsuda collapsed after a 15-minute training run on Tuesday. After an initial diagnosis of heat stroke, he was later confirmed to have had a cardiac arrest. He was unconscious on his arrival at the hospital and showed no response to heart massage.

"I never got to know Matsuda directly but knew what a great player he was having watched him in the J-League last year," Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni said.

Matsuda joined third-tier club Matsumoto Yamaga this year after spending his entire J-League career with Yokohama.

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