Ex-Gamba Osaka boss Nishino to replace Halilhodzic as Japan coach

10 April, 2018, 20:08 | Author: Hope Soto
  • Japan's Football Association were not happy with their side's recent displays under Halilhodzic

Respected veteran Akira Nishino has been named as Japan's chief coach ahead of the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018.

Vahid Halilhodzic has reportedly been dismissed as Japan's head coach following two disappointing worldwide friendly matches and with the World Cup opening in just over two months.

The Japanese will face Colombia, Senegal and Poland in group play in the World Cup.

The JFA opted for Nishino because he was a former technical director of the Federation and possesses intimate knowledge of the national team and its set up.

Nishino, who earned 12 caps for Japan as a player, has previously managed the Samurai Blue at youth level, including their under-23s at the 1996 Olympics, in which he oversaw a 1-0 win against a Brazil side containing Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos and Rivaldo.

The straight-talking Halilhodzic was also reported to have ruffled feathers in the dressing room with his no-nonsense approach.

After being hired in March 2015, he steered the national team to qualification for the finals in Russian Federation in June, but he has been panned for the team's poor showing in a series of recent global friendlies.

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The Nikkan Sports daily said today "the association made the decision as it has a growing sense of crisis over the team's performance, which has shown no sign of improvement with fewer than 70 days until the World Cup".

"I told him that we have reached this decision so that Japan would have more chance of winning", said Tashima. And the JFA had been hoping Halilhodzic could create a similar breakthrough for Japan.

The Japanese qualified for the finals for the first time in 1998 and have been present at the World Cup ever since.

The 65-year old was under pressure after a 1-1 draw against Mali and a 2-1 defeat against Ukraine in March.

South Korea's run to the semifinals in 2002 as co-host remains the best run by an Asian team at the World Cup.

Halilhodzic was hired in March 2015 after leading Algeria to the knockout stage of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

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