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Japan gets new coach for World Cup

10 April 2018

BC-SOC-Japan Coach, 3rd Ld-Writethru, 353 Report: Japan fires coach Halilhodzic ahead of World CupAP Photo TKSK102, TKSK104, TKSK103, TKSK101Eds: Updates with speculation over new coach.

"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".

Japan are on the lookout for a new coach only two months before the World Cup begins after sacking Vahid Halilhodzic following a poor recent run of form.

The 63-year-old Nishino, who spent 10 seasons in charge of Gamba Osaka, was at the helm for one of Japanese football's greatest moments - a 1-0 win over a Brazil side containing Roberto Carlos and Ronaldo at the 1996 Olympic Games.

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But he said the coach has been struggling to get through to the players.

Some fans expressed their bemusement at the decision coming so close to the World Cup finals, stating that the squad would now not have enough time to prepare.

"Sometimes I'd really like them to be more aggressive, more street-smart, more vicious", said the former Nantes and Paris Saint-Germain striker.

Nishino faces a tricky group comprised of Colombia, Senegal and Poland in Russian Federation this summer, and they will have just three matches to work with his side prior to the World Cup.

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

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 global has now been relieved of his duties after being informed on Saturday afternoon (prior to the official announcement on Monday), according to Goal.

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

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.

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South Korea's run to the semifinals in 2002 as co-host remains the best run by an Asian team at the World Cup.

Japan gets new coach for World Cup