Japan sack Vahid Halilhodzic two months before World Cup

Japan sack Vahid Halilhodzic two months before World Cup

Japan sack Vahid Halilhodzic two months before World Cup

The new coach is expected to be among these shortlisted candidates: JFA's technical director Akira Nishino, an experienced J-League coach; Hajime Moriyasu, Japan's under-21 football team coach; and Makoto Teguramori, a member of Halilhodzic's coaching staff.

We set up some friendlies after we got into the World Cup but finally we made a decision to fire him two days ago.

It reached the knockout stage in 2002 under French coach Philippe Troussier - it was the co-host that year with South Korea - and again in 2010 under Japanese coach Takeshi Okada.

Nishino is the former coach of Japanese club Gamba Osaka, and also coached Japan at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

"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 played two friendly games in March against Ukraine and Mali and the Japanese team failed to impress the fans after they lost to Ukraine 2-1 and ended their game against Mali with a 1-1 draw. "After the matches against Mali and the Ukraine, the relationship and trust between the coaches and the players broke down".

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

He will have three friendly matches to prepare Japan for the World Cup, where they are drawn in Group H alongside Colombia, Poland and Senegal. Ange Postecoglou quit nearly immediately after Australia secured qualification for Russian Federation and has been replaced by Bert van Marwijk. The team recently suffered a tie and a loss to teams that hadn't even qualified for the World Cup.

The tournament in Russian Federation will be the sixth successive World Cup appearance by the Blue Samurai, who made it to the last 16 in 2002 when Japan co-hosted the tournament with South Korea and again in 2010.

But recent pressure appears to have weighed down the team. This time the JFA parted ways with the Bosnian after a crisis meeting decided Halilhodzic's time with Japan was up.

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