Japan scramble for Russian Federation 2018, replacing Halilhodzic with Nishino

Japan scramble for Russian Federation 2018, replacing Halilhodzic with Nishino

Japan scramble for Russian Federation 2018, replacing Halilhodzic with Nishino

"We did not do this just because of the results, we listened to the player's voices".

Vahid Halilhodzic has been axed as coach of Japan following a string of disappointing results, leaving Japan's World Cup preparations in turmoil.

"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, after progress to this summer's tournament had been ensured.

Nishino, 63, is one of the country's finest footballers as was part of the team that beat a Brazil side with Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos 1-0 at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

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Despite an inconsistent campaign, the former Paris Saint-Germain boss guided Japan to World Cup qualification with 20 points from 10 group matches and topping the group ahead of Saudi Arabia and Australia.

Japan has never advanced beyond the second round, and will be making its sixth straight appearance in the upcoming World Cup.

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.

A 1-1 draw against Mali followed soon by a 2-1 defeat to Ukraine left many wondering over his future, but the former Bosnia worldwide has now been relieved of his duties after being informed on Saturday afternoon (prior to the official announcement on Monday), according to Goal.

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

Japan opens the World Cup on June 19 against Colombia, and also faces Senegal and Poland in group play.

Franco-Bosnian 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.

Comments made by the manager in the wake of the defeat, as quoted by the Japan Times, brought him in for more heavy criticism: "I was amazed by South Korea's explosiveness of power, technique and control of the game".

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