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The Dunedin Technical under-12 Lions have returned from playing against some of the world's best young footballers.
Touring Japan last month, the team was able to improve during its time away and claimed wins in its last two games.
Technically, it was sound and compared well with the clubs from Japan, China, England and Spain. However, physically, it initially struggled with the speed and strength of its overseas counterparts.
The tour was highlighted by the world challenge tournament, a prestigious event that included teams from both Barcelona and Arsenal.
Tech had a tough game first up, against a Tokyo team, being beaten 7-0.
The Tokyo team had been selected from more than 750 club sides around the area and while Tech had some good passages, the pace and power of Tokyo was telling.
Tokyo went on to play Barcelona in the final, losing 2-1.
A renewed focus and change of structure saw the team go down 2-1 to Shonan Bellmare that afternoon.
It tightened its defence and conserved energy, allowing it to counterattack.
Xuan Loke scored the team's goal from a free kick 30m out.
In its final world challenge game, Tech had a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to FC Iris.
Loke looked to have scored a late equaliser, but had his goal disallowed for being offside.
The team also played games before and after the tournament.
At the pre-tournament, it managed 0-0 draws against FC Barcelona, Escola Japan and Yuai SC before losses in its next two games.
After the world challenge, the team travelled south to Odawara, where after losing 3-1 in its first game, it claimed 3-2 and 7-0 victories to finish off.