Japan sack their manager ahead of the 2018 World Cup

Glen Mclaughlin
April 10, 2018

Just 2 months before the World Cup kicks off in Russia, Japan is replacing its' national soccer coach.

Japan have officially announced the sacking of manager Vahid Halilhodzic - a surprise decision with the FIFA World Cup only two months away.

He had 12 caps for his country and was in charge of Gamba Osaka team's that won their first Asian Club Championship in 2008.

A former worldwide midfielder who won 12 caps for his country, Nishino is best known for his stint at the helm of Gamba Osaka and he took the club to their first Asian Club Championship in 2008.

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 are scheduled to play their first group stage game in the World Cup against Colombia on June 19, followed by Senegal five days later and Poland on the 28th.

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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Tashima said the "basics will remain the same" under the new manager, adding that a fast, attacking style was "much needed".

The Sports Hochi daily said today "a sense of unity was lacking" between him and the team.

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

"We came to this decision because I thought this could increase the chances of the team winning - even if it's just by a little", Tashima said. This time the JFA parted ways with the Bosnian after a crisis meeting decided Halilhodzic's time with Japan was up.

"We'll do everything we can to produce good results (at the World Cup)".

It will be the sixth successive World Cup appearance by the Blue Samurai, who made it to the last 16 in 2002 when Japan co-hosted the tournament with South Korea and again in 2010.

Bosnian Halilhodzic, 65, took over the Japanese national team in March 2015.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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