Published: Tue, April 10, 2018
Medicine | By Melba Vasquez

Japan Appoints Nishino As Coach

Japan Appoints Nishino As Coach

Japan captain Makoto Hasebe said Monday he feels partly to blame for the sacking of national head coach Vahid Halilhodzic ahead of the World Cup finals in Russian Federation.

"To those who attacked me I say: bad luck for you because I'm going to carry on doing my job", Halilhodzic is cited as saying by News Channel Asia in September. Japan newspaper, Hochi Daily also reported that a sense of unity was lacking between the players and the coach.

While he led the squad to its sixth straight World Cup appearance by placing first in its group in the final Asian qualifying round, the team only managed three wins in the nine matches played after the qualification round was completed.

This earned them the biggest match in their history, a World Club Cup semi-final clash with a powerful Manchester United side featuring Cristiano Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney, which they lost in a 5-3 thriller.

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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.

In 2010, Ivory Coast dismissed Halilhodzic with months left until the kick-off of the World Cup in South Africa.

Despite qualifying for the World Cup, Japan has struggled in recent global fixtures, with local sports media fuming after the team tasted defeat in March against Ukraine and scraped a draw with Mali with the last kick of the game.

Japan's next warm-up game for the World Cup is against Ghana on May 30.

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Halilhodzic, who recovered from being wounded in 1992 during the Bosnian war, insisted he was no "dictator" - but acknowledged his frank approach was capable of "wounding" some people in Japan.

It is not the first time Halilhodzic has been jettisoned just before a major tournament.

They begin the competition with a tough tie against Colombia on June 19, followed by encounters with Senegal and Poland to see out the group stages.

The Franco-Bosnian was one of the managerial successes of the 2014 World Cup as he guided surprise-package Algeria beyond the group stages with a series of impressive performances.

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