Japan Appoints Nishino As Coach

Vahid Halilhodzic has been sacked as Japan head coach only two months out from the start of the World Cup

Japan Football Association president, Kozo Tashima stated the reason for Halilhodzic sack to include lack of communication and weakened trust from players.

The head of the association praised Halilhodzic for helping Japan qualify for its 6th straight World Cup.

The 65-year-old from Bosnia Herzegovina became the first Japan head coach to be fired after the national team booked a spot in the finals. Instead, he favoured a more direct style of play with more emphasis on set-pieces, utilising the width of the pitch and launching swift counter-attacks - a trait which had proven successful with Algeria. "Nishino has seen the team more than anyone else and he will be our new manager", Tashima added. Halilhodzic is also believed to have lost the support of his dressing room. And the JFA had been hoping Halilhodzic could create a similar breakthrough for Japan.

He once reportedly banned his players from smiling, and he found himself in trouble with authorities on two separate occasions after traffic accidents in 2015 and 2017.

"We only have two months left until the World Cup, so the new manager had to come from within the organization".

The Nikkan Sports daily said Monday "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".


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.

However, it was not a smooth path through to the finals.

The nation shares a fierce rivalry with South Korea and such an admission of underperformance - alongside the result itself, a 4-1 defeat - ensured he was hounded by the national press.

The former Paris Saint-Germain boss now faces a summer without a World Cup, just as he did eight years ago when Ivory Coast fired him four months before the tournament began.

Before moving to Japan, Halilhodzic took Algeria to the last 16 at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

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