Japan sack Vahid Halilhodzic ahead of World Cup

Frederick Owens
April 10, 2018

The straight-talking Vahid Halilhodzic (pic) has made few concessions in Japan's famously polite society, and his style reportedly stirred tensions between the coach and the dressing room.

SUN SIX is the new predictor game where you can win £1million - just by correctly picking the results of six games. In addition, some players are not happy with the work method of this 65-year-old Bosnian football specialist.

Halilhodzic being replaced comes just two months until the start of the World Cup finals in Russian Federation and despite the 65-year-old guiding Japan to its sixth straight appearance in the World Cup finals.

New head coach, Akira Nishino boasts an impressive array of domestic silverware and masterminded one of Japanese football's proudest moments: beating a Brazil side containing Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos 1-0 at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Tashima said the reason for the sacking was that "communication and trust with players have become weakened".

The end for Halilhodzic came in two global friendlies last month in Europe against non-World Cup teams.

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"No progress, no hope, lots of worries over the World Cup", blared a headline in the Sports Nippon last month, raising the prospect that Japan might lose all its group games in June.

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.

The 65-year-old, who hails from Bosnia-Herzegovina, steered Japan to Russian Federation as group winners in their AFC qualifying group, but is believed to have been under pressure following the 1-1 draw against Mali and 2-1 defeat versus Ukraine in the March global window.

Halilhodzic was hired in March 2015 after leading Algeria to the knockout stage of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

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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