A humble Izwan Mahbud praised his teammates following Singapore’s unforgettable 0-0 draw at Japan on Tuesday night.
The 24-year-old made multiple key saves over 90 minutes at Saitama Stadium, silencing the sold-out crowd and frustrating Samurai Blue stars such as Milan attacker Keisuke Honda.
“Of course it’s a miracle,” Izwan said after the match. “Japan are a big Asian country and we were underdogs.
“I played my best but it’s all about the team effort. We kept to our game plan well and followed the coach’s instructions.
“I’ve watched Honda and [Shinji] Kagawa on TV; I was admiring them. To play against them is a big honour for me.They were coming for 45 minutes, and I just tried my best to save every ball. [Singapore’s players] defended well, and it was my day.”
Following coach Bernd Stange’s comments in his post-game press conference implying that the the LionsXII goalkeeper would soon find a home in the J-League, the player himself admitted that he would welcome an offer from Japan.
“Of course I need to step out of my comfort zone,” Izwan said. “If any Japanese club offers I’ll think about it.
“I’d improve [if I played in Japan]. It would be a big step for me.”
The 24-year-old then insisted that Singapore’s early results have not caused he and his teammates to look ahead to Russia.
“It’s still early, you can’t get complacent,” Izwan added. “The qualifiers are long, and it’s going to be a tough game against Syria [on September 3].”