Japan coach Vahid Halilhodzic Photo: AFP/File
soccer

Japan coach faces review after Iraq World Cup qualifying draw

7 Comments
By KAZUHIRO NOGI

Japan coach Vahid Halilhodzic was facing a performance review on Wednesday after a 1-1 draw with Iraq set back his team's World Cup qualifying campaign.

Japan's soccer chief was left fuming by the result in neutral Tehran, saying hot conditions were no excuse for the disappointing result.

"(The heat) is not an excuse. We could have potentially lost the match," Japan FA chief Kozo Tashima told reporters, according to Kyodo News agency.

"We need to feel fortunate that we took a point from here."

The Blue Samurai took an early lead but they lacked intensity in the second half, when the Iraqis equalised in the 73rd minute.

Japan missed the chance to take a three-point cushion at the top of Group B, ahead of their final games against Saudi Arabia and Australia who are both just one point back.

Despite the setback, Japan will advance to next year's World Cup in Russia if they beat Australia at home on August 31.

When asked if Bosnia's Halilhodzic would keep his job, JFA technical director Akira Nishino said "of course", according to the Nikkan Sports daily.

But he added: "A review is needed. There was enough time. How was our preparation until today? We must have a full grasp on that."

Halilhodzic said he was "disappointed" by his side's showing, adding that injuries hampered the team and that his team were "exhausted".

"I am absolutely not satisfied," he told reporters after the Tuesday match in Tehran.

"I told the team at half-time that we can kill off the game if we score a second but then we let one in. We were exhausted, and could not carry out the plan we had in place."

© 2017 AFP

©2017 GPlusMedia Inc.

7 Comments
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Never mind Halilhodzic, just look back at all the coaches since Troussier in the late 90s. I don't really see any significant improvement in terms of results or performances.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Despite the setback, Japan will advance to next year's World Cup in Russia if they beat Australia at home on August 31

Something they've never done in qualifying. They usually end up drawing with the Socceroos. If that happens, they'll likely have to beat Saudi Arabia away, which won't be easy, especially with the corrupt refs.

I can't blame this on the coach, but the players didn't seem to be in good condition. The goal they allowed was also a joke, but they should have went for the kill before they were too fatigued to do so.

Never mind Halilhodzic, just look back at all the coaches since Troussier in the late 90s. I don't really see any significant improvement in terms of results or performances.

Players may have gotten a little better, but so have the opponents. The coaches enforce their own way, so there really isn't a pattern there. But defensive-minded Troussier and Okada had the best results at WC. Trying to play pretty football and then switching it up all of a sudden at the big stage can backfire.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Okada in particular was very lucky, funny that the coaching careers of almost all the

coaches that coach Japan falls after they leave the blue samurai which makes me

think the Blue samurai are making the coaches look good and not vice versa.

I believe I can coach the blue samurai and I will look like a world class coach despite

not ever coaching even kids.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Both Japan and South Korea face the toughest last 2 games in their respective groups - each finishes group play against the Top 2 teams of their group that's not themselves

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I think Japan will beat Australia comfortably at home. I watch the Socceroos very closely and they are very, very ordinary right now. Just a very average team with average cattle.

If for some reason they only draw though, they may be in big trouble because they won't beat the Saudis at home. The Saudis are pretty decent.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Whenever Samurai Blue face trouble they always want to blame the coach.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I'm tired of Samurai Blue blaming the coach (or the public and media, anyway). They've been doing it for more than 20 years, and have not improved except through team cohesion, which is extremely rare. Some love to praise Okada as having brought them together and as a Japanese Samurai who proved such coaches are the cause of wins, but in reality Okada himself, a very down to earth guy, said he had nothing to do with it and he could have just as well been a fly on the wall and the results would not have changed. He called himself lucky.

Until the players change, changing coaches will just be a scapegoat.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

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