Kashima Antlers manager Masatada Ishii hailed his team as an inspiration for the little guy after the J. League champions went down fighting 4-2 against Real Madrid in the Club World Cup final on Sunday.

Antlers almost pulled off one of the greatest upsets in modern soccer history when they took 11-time European champion Madrid to extra time at Nissan Stadium, missing a chance to win it with the last kick of the 90 minutes when Yasushi Endo blazed a shot wide with the score at 2-2.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.