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Zaccheroni quits as coach after Japan's World Cup flop

44 Comments
By STEVE MOORE

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44 Comments
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Zaccheroni said he’d been aiming to get Japan into the second round, “But I picked the team, decided on the tactics and how we play and I want to take full responsibility.”

Now that is a man with real honor. He didn't try to make excuses, point fingers, or dodge his responsibility. He immediately manned-up and did what was best. Wish both him and the Japan soccer team good luck in the future.

17 ( +19 / -3 )

Shame. Nice bloke, good manager. A victim of hysterical media hype.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Japan did not play well against Mexico.

That's right, because they didn't play Mexico at all!

9 ( +9 / -1 )

It's like native English teacher resigning over non-native English student's failure.

7 ( +15 / -8 )

That is sad to hear. Too bad people only look at his failures and not his achievements. And a lot of respect for taking all the blame. Good luck to him and thanks for a great 4 years coaching.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Perfect time to go. Japan grew up as a team for this 4 years, they got experience they have confidence and they have started thinking different. Zake did a great job, but Japan needs a new approach which should be built on top of Zake's plan and strategy. The only think that I am concerned about is how Japanese media handles the football team. They are some players who are considered heroes and irreplaceable. Honda and Kagawa are very talented but I dont see them running all the time like Nagatomo. Football is teamwork, and not in the japanese way of "teamwork", where they have those walls between senpai and kouhai. Its time to develop individuality in the field and friendship outside. It is wrong to consider it a JOB.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I'm more dissappointed with Honda and Kawashima!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Zaccheroni said he thought Japan was “superior in everything” against Colombia, but was still soundly beaten.

I doN't get how you can be "superior in everything" and lose 4-1. Lose by 1 goal and maybe you can say that. And anyway, Colombia were playing their weaker players.

“This means there’s something missing,” he said.

Yes. More than 3 decent players; and a goalkeeper who isn't awful.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Lack of body control and aggressiveness

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I am deeply saddened to hear this. Zaccheroni was an excellent manager for the team and he was really going places with Japan. I was hoping that he would extend his contract as the manager of Japan but this will not be the case. In my eyes, he's the man for Japan despite their results in the World Cup.

A narrow defeat to Ivory Coast, A draw against Greece in which Japan should have been outright winners and a narrow loss to Colombia despite the scoreline. If you look at the statistics, Japan had more possession, more shots on and off target, far more corners and the Colombian goalkeeper made a total of 12 saves, to the 4 of Japan's.

Devastated!

3 ( +9 / -6 )

My prediction is he will either stay on in Japan as an in-studio analyst or go on to coach an African or Middle Eastern team. That seems to be the norm.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Zaccheroni did some great things for the team, and he should be admired and respected for having the patience and commitment to coach a team in a foreign land with a foreign language for as long as he did. However, maybe in best to get fresh different ideas, skills & management for Team Japan. Also, he like all the coaches of sport know, poor results always makes you join the job search program. I wish him the best, and I think he will gain success coaching another team somewhere in the world...

3 ( +4 / -1 )

How many shots at goal did Team Japan have in the last game without success? 20+ The players should be a little bit ashamed of themselves and cop some of the blame for B grade performance. Maybe Japan soccer should think about the golden saying: " A champion team will always beat a team of champions" I think the likes of Honda, who is so up himself, he didn't even acknowledge the 1000's of screaming fans at the airport - should have a reality check and sent to the "Sin Bin" for a while!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

jerseyboy - you beat me to it and i agree with you wholeheartedly. Japan`s politicians and business leaders could learn a lot from Zaccheroni about accepting responsibility and manning up. Good luck to him.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Why do people always think that the grass is greener with a new coach? It doesnt always improve the team automatically, players, staff and coaches have to start from scratch and an adjustment period can take time. Be careful what you wish for as you can also get a real dud of a coach next, just ask Kagawa and Manchester United...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

They just didn't click.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Is anyone surprised with this news ?

The coach should take credits if the team does well, and he should also take the biggest blame if it doesn't. I would love to hear how you guys justify some of his questionable decisions like going into the aerial battle against Greece when their defenders are like 3 feet taller most Japanese forwards.

And we knew about Japan horrible defense for the past 2 years but he kept using the same CB, Yoshida. Even the last coach Okada who did very well at 2010 WC weren't asked back after the WC so of course Zac has to go after the horrible results.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It's the world cup. Some of the best teams go down in the preliminaries. It happens. Coaches take the blame for disappointing results, often before getting fired for what can not be pinned on them. The Japan team are an experience richer, something they need to grow. Zaccheroni deserves praise for what he did with the JP team and his gracious bow out.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I agree with Jordan Lloyd. Zac Japan did better than the score card, and I enjoyed watching them (till about the last ten minutes of the Colombia game anyway).

I don't think that the Japanese players need to play like South Americans. Martial artists (and there is always something a bit martial about Japanese sport) don't loose their cool but deal with the opposition. I think that the players could be a bit bigger, faster, stronger and overall more powerful though. The Japanese team is the second smallest in the tournament (behind Chile) at 70.2 inches which is an inch shorter than the WBC National Japanese baseball team - I calculated it from http://web.worldbaseballclassic.com/wbc/2013/teams/index.jsp?team=jpn&team_id=843 average 71.16 inches.

When the present Japanese squad started playing soccer about 20 years ago soccer was still very much the second tier sport and the really sporty guys joined the baseball team. The Japanese team is now more popular than Japanese pro baseball, since 2010 see the graph on page 5 (though admittedly the popularity of J-league is decreasing) www.murc.jp/publicity/press_release/pr_121011.pdf

More popularity means more fans, more beautiful fans, and the biggest fastest powerful boys and men. Zac did nothing wrong, but he came a bit too soon. In 12 years they will be in the final, I hope, partly thanks to Zac.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Good bye then. Wish him good rest and new chalenge in the future.

It is not easy to work in foreign country and I'm sure there were many difficulties in conveying what he wanted from the players and how those players understood him.

Unfortunately the players condition was at its bottom for the WC. 2 years ago it would be different. Main players were with injuries just barely recovered (Hasebe, Uchida) and some are getting older and slower. He introduced few new names to the team in the last moment though (but some TV commentators said this was part of the problem).

As a whole they played very bad the first 2 games and made decent (even good) 3rd match. Unfortunately when you stand up and try to play at the same level as your stronger opponent you are often punished.

I rather see them like this than play like Greece - always with 10 players defending - boring, ugly football.

But as a whole I think Zac had to prepare them better tactically. And of course players have to be more creative and take risks...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I see, Zaccheroni makes an exit with honor and accepting full responsibility, that's how it is, for the people that says, the teams needed better players and all that, it might be true, but that also is responsibility of the coach, he is the one who picks them. I do believe that he did make the team grow, but also I think it wasn't enough, you cannot get stuck with one coach for many time, now, Japan needs to look for a coach at the same level than Zaccheroni, and yes, deal with the "widowers" (that is that followers of a certain coach are called after the coach leaves the team).

I wish good luck to Japan team, I'd suggest an Argentinian coach next time...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

7sky7 It may seem like an insignificant thing to many in Japan, but the announcers on television have got to stop rooting for players and their own team, it should be embarrassing for them. The jingoistic flavor is not just for Japan, they root for certain teams and players, of other countries.

I see that all the time here in the states. You are just nitpicking cause of your own bias against Japan. You said it yourself, you think its an evil country yet you live "there". You people are ridiculous.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japan needs to hire an agressive Latino or German coach, almost bullish. This is the way to make Japanese team play like Uruguay, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, USA.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I bet instructions to players were lost somewhere in translation

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I sincerely think that Zaccheroni's tactic was right and I thought Japan was overwhelming Colombia . However, there is almost no sharp shooters in front of the goal. The forward payers from the opponent team could take every opportunity for their win and left Japanese strikers helpless and stunned. Nagatomo was excellent to cover the whole field. Honda and Okazaki, too, were outstanding. After all it was luck.

But, most foreigners disappointed too much glossing of them by their narrators from all TV stations. Most important is to know your place in the world and then try to advance higher place with determination.

I'd like to recommend the federation to request and persuade Mr. Zaccheroni to stay until for the next world cup!! He is an able gentleman!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Many problems with Japan becoming an elite soccer power...coaching I don't believe is the problem. Physically and mentally, the Japanese were beaten.

It may seem like an insignificant thing to many in Japan, but the announcers on television have got to stop rooting for players and their own team, it should be embarrassing for them. The jingoistic flavor is not just for Japan, they root for certain teams and players, of other countries. I couldn't believe one announcer saying how dangerous it was that neymar almost missed a free kick in the first game. A Croatian would listen to that and ask why are the Japanese blatantly rooting for Brazil? I listen to it and hear immaturity and trite words being spoken. They need to quit that stuff, and have more calm and perspective and professional attitude toward describing the game.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The players never really performed well for Zac and need to take a fair bit of the blame for a poor performance in WC2014. It's one thing to be beaten fair & square, but another thing to be beaten when you don't seem to be trying your best. The team seemed to lack many things - urgency, passion, intensity a killer instinct, etc. That kind of drive & motivation usually comes from the manager and forms the culture of the team, but was visibly missing from this team.

Zac does seem to be an intelligent manager and I was impressed with his observations & comments about the team. He certainly seemed to know their strengths & weaknesses but didn't really manage to improve things. I hope the next manager helps to raise the bar and improve the level of performance. The WC is much more enjoyable when Japan are still in it...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Time for a younger coach with a long-term plan. It's time for a bit of realism. They weren't good enough and more worryingly, there isn't too much talent in that Japanese squad under 25. Time to build for 2018 or 2022 and look at blooding promising players early. Zac had his faults but I'm not convinced by the argument that Japan were less than the sum of their parts in this World Cup.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go So make the best of this test, and don't ask why It's not a question, but a lesson learned in time

It's something unpredictable, but in the end is right, I hope you had the time of your life.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Can they get that French guy Troussier to come back?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Arevederci. Now whatever team wins the world cup, let's get a gaijin from there to teach us! It works in all facets of society here, so it's a no-brainer. Ganbare Nippon.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan needs to hire an agressive Latino or German coach, almost bullish. This is the way to make Japanese team play like Uruguay, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, USA.

For some reason, I would trust Germans and Dutchmen a little more. Perhaps it's because of the way they are thinking forward. If we hire a coach from a Latin country, the JFA better make sure his credentials are good first and not just hire anybody in panic. So the people talking Aguirre should tone it down because more candidates will come up eventually at the very end of this World Cup. Still, the best mould to follow when looking for a coach who can influence a hell lot more through his work on a team's mental aspects as well as tactics is Louis van Gaal. Obviously, Japan would look better with a manager who acts like Van Gaal does for Holland, but we shouldn't ditch the tactical aspect even if man-management is a forte for some when interviewing candidates. Hence, the choice of the national coach and his assistants will have to be made very wisely.

Regarding player development, I think there is work to do from the ground up. One plausible solution would be to hire foreign technicians to work with teenagers and kids on aspects that might help them getting better depending of playing positions (physicality/tackling for defenders and defensive midfielders, dribbling for wingers, shooting for strikers). Nevertheless, Japanese coaches at youth level are the ones who must find a way to take those youngsters to become key features of their respective teams and to let them use their best assets to win.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan did not play well against Mexico. If you repair, Mexico let Japan stay with the ball and Japan offered no danger.

Japanese team is too naive, they lack experience. Japan must participate in big games against afican, european and south american teams.

The actual japanese national team does not understand players and teams behaviors of different "soccer schools" of the planet.

Asian soccer school is different from south american soccer school. Japan was completely dominated by the Mexican. If you don't see that, is because you dont understand the latin soccer style.

And more: An asian team never won a game against a south american team in all world cup history.

Japan must go baby steps, complete small objectives first instead of believing it would win a world cup being so inexperienced.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Fair play to him for taking responsibility, when the media hype and underperforming players were also to blame. I wish Woy Hodgson would do the same! Looks like we're stuck with him and Wooney for the next Euros. The Asian Cup is coming up next year so Japan should appoint someone soon. Good luck to him whoever it is.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The first match where the players completely wimped out screwed it all up I think. He was forced to play a "tough" guy like Okubo the rest of the time.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

hmm sounds drama to me so no one's can't blame him ... samurai japan are not that weak they give their best, coach problem dont know how to manage his team ... find a new coach Japan don't lose hope Gambare Nipon !

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

You cannot blame just the coach, if the team does not have the talent then there is nothing a coach can do...

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

If you give an infinite number of Japanese strikers an infinite number of shooting opportunities they will probably miss all of them - Emile Borel, 1913

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Oh man, I would quit too. Nope, a hopeless cause to change this team around I'm afraid...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Full of admiration for him, and now I'm just sad. Wishing him all the best and I hoping that in his next post he shows what might have been possible.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Yes

???????the problem was the spiritless player whom played like a computer robots

-3 ( +9 / -12 )

Lack of body control and aggressiveness

They afraid to hurt other player, because they might think that they will pay a fine if they hurt them.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

So he was forced out then.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

Yes!

-10 ( +5 / -15 )

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