Published: Tue, April 10, 2018
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Japan fires football coach months before World Cup

Japan fires football coach months before World Cup

Just 2 months before the World Cup kicks off in Russia, Japan is replacing its' national soccer coach.

Nishino was at the helm for one of Japanese football's greatest moments: a 1-0 Olympic win over a Brazil side containing Roberto Carlos and Ronaldo at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, a game that became known as the 'Miracle of Miami'.

Kyodo news agency quoted JFA President Kozo Tashima as saying the Bosnian had been informed of the decision and his replacement would be announced at a news conference later in the day.

He had 12 caps for his country and was in charge of Gamba Osaka team's that won their first Asian Club Championship in 2008.

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. Halilhodzic is also believed to have lost the support of his dressing room.

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

He said he had given the news over the weekend to Halilhodzic, who had reacted with a mixture of confusion and anger.

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

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.

We set up some friendlies after we got into the World Cup but finally we made a decision to fire him two days ago. And the JFA had been hoping Halilhodzic could create a similar breakthrough for Japan.

The nation shares a fierce rivalry with South Korea and such an admission of underperformance - alongside the result itself, a 4-1 defeat - ensured he was hounded by the national press.

The Japanese qualified for the finals for the first time in 1998 and have been present at the World Cup ever since.

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

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