Japan dismiss head coach Vahid Halilhodzic

Vahid Halilhodzic has lost his job as Japan coach just two months before the World Cup begins

Vahid Halilhodzic has lost his job as Japan coach just two months before the World Cup begins

Akira Nishino was on Monday named the head coach of Japan following the dismissal of Vahid Halilhodzic, just two months to the 2018 World Cup.

Japan Football Association President Kohzo Tashima said, "I made the decision to change the coach because I want to do whatever I can to help the team win at the World Cup". Nishino guided Gamba Osaka to the J-League crown in 2005 and the AFC Champions League title in 2008, and appeared 12 times for his country as a midfielder in the late 1970s.

A former global 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.

Japan will be playing in their sixth consecutive World Cup and have only twice reached the knockout round.

Japan is scheduled to play against Colombia on June 19, which will be their first game in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, in Russian Federation.

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Nishino was the head coach of the Japanese Olympic team at the 1996 Atlanta Games in which it pulled off a stunning upset of Brazil.

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

It became obvious that Halilhodzic's job was dangling after a series of disappointing results, including a loss to Ukraine and a snatched draw with Mali from the last kick of the game.

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

With just two months until the World Cup kicks off in Russian Federation, one of the 32 managers preparing for the finals has been sacked from his post.

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

"We did not do this just because of the results, we listened to the player's voices". And the JFA had been hoping Halilhodzic could create a similar breakthrough for Japan.

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

He missed out on leading Ivory Coast during the tournament in 2010 when he was sacked as national coach just months before the finals following the team's disappointing performance in the African Cup of Nations.

Japan, South Korea and Australia - traditionally, Asia's most powerful teams - struggled in World Cup qualifying before advancing.

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