The Japanese Football Association has picked up FIFA’s Fair Play annual prize and other two prizes at the Ballon D’Or gala which took place on Monday in Switzerland.
“It has been a monumental year for Japanese football”, FIFA’s website reads. “AFC Asian Cup success, representation in four of FIFA’s five tournaments, the hosting of the FIFA Club World Cup last month, and the calendar year crowned by ground-breaking victory at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany.”
Japan was especially praised for the way its national women team performed at the World Cup in Germany, only three months after the March natural disasters, when everyone was wondering if the team would even take part in the competition given the dramatic situation in Japan. Not only has the team participated, but it even won the competition in style, defeating USA in the final game.
The team’s captain, 33-year old Homare Sawa, picked up FIFA’s prize for the best female player of the year.
The team’s coach, Norio Sasaki, was also honored as best coach of a women’s team for his role in the World Cup victory.