Japan names new coach just before World Cup

Japan names new coach just before World Cup

Japan names new coach just before World Cup

Akira Nishino was on Monday named the head coach of Japan following the dismissal of Vahid Halilhodzic, just two months to the 2018 World Cup.

JFA announced that Veteran Japanese manager, Akira Nishino, will lead the national team at the World Cup in Russian Federation.

He guided Gamba Osaka to the J-League crown in 2005 and the AFC Champions League title in 2008, and appeared 12 times for his country as a midfielder in the late 1970s. Nishino took the job as JFA technical director in 2016.

By this stage, only a strong World Cup showing would see his contract extended beyond the summer but two more below-par friendly results - a draw with Mali and defeat to Ukraine - saw Halilhodzic dismissed.

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

Despite the famous win over Brazil in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Nishino came under fire for being overly defensive.

Tashima said the "basics will remain the same" under the new manager, adding that a fast, attacking style was "much needed". "It's all about results in this game".

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

"I can't believe they are doing this just before the World Cup", said Yukina Muranaka, 29, a Tokyoite who is planning to travel to watch Japan play in Russian Federation, calling the decision "poorly planned".

"Sometimes I'd really like them to be more aggressive, more street-smart, more vicious", said the former Nantes and Paris Saint-Germain striker. And the JFA had been hoping Halilhodzic could create a similar breakthrough for Japan.

We set up some friendlies after we got into the World Cup but finally we chose to fire him two days ago.

South Korea's run to the semifinals in 2002, when it was co-hosting the tournament with Japan, remains the best run by an Asian team at the World Cup.

Nishino becomes the second Japanese to serve as head coach of the Japanese national team.

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

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