Japan National Football Team Results
Akira Matsunaga was a speedy forward who ran the 100 metres in 10.8 seconds. He first played for the Shida Shizuoka Prefectural Junior High School and the Tokyo Higher Normal School (now University of Tsukuba). He was attending Tokyo Imperial University when he was selected to join Japan’s national team for the Berlin Olympics in 1936. He scored the winning goal against Sweden 40 minutes into the second half, becoming the driving force behind the historic feat that was later called the "miracle of Berlin." The two games in Berlin turned out to be his only international appearances. He served in the Japanese Army during World War II and was killed in 1942 as a member of the 230th Infantry Regiment during the battle of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. His younger brother Nobuo also played for the national team and his nephew Tadashi won the Emperor's Cup All-Japan Football Championship as a college student. The jersey Matsunaga was wearing during the Berlin Olympics is still kept today in the Prince Chichibu Memorial Sports Museum, the oldest one preserved from the Japan national football team.