Ex-Gamba Osaka boss Nishino to replace Halilhodzic as Japan coach

Japan's soccer coach Halilhodzic being dismissed

BC-SOC-Japan Coach, 3rd Ld-Writethru, 353 Report: Japan fires coach Halilhodzic ahead of World CupAP Photo TKSK102, TKSK104, TKSK103, TKSK101Eds: Updates with speculation over new coach.

SUN SIX is the new predictor game where you can win £1million - just by correctly picking the results of six games. With AP Photos.Japanese news agency Kyodo has reported national team head coach Vahid Halilhodzic has been fired following two disappointing global friendly matches and with the World Cup in Russian Federation just over two months away.

The Bosnian manager coached Japan through their World Cup qualifying campaign and he led them to a direct qualification to the World Cup after leading their group.

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

The Nikkan Sports daily said today "the association made the decision as it has a growing sense of crisis over the team's performance, which has shown no sign of improvement with fewer than 70 days until the World Cup".

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. And the JFA had been hoping Halilhodzic could create a similar breakthrough for Japan.

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

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

The Franco-Bosnian was one of the managerial successes of the 2014 World Cup as he guided surprise-package Algeria beyond the group stages with a series of impressive performances.

South Korea's run to the semifinals in 2002, when it was co-hosting the tournament with Japan, remains the best run by an Asian team at the World Cup.

Nishino faces a tricky group comprised of Colombia, Senegal and Poland in Russian Federation this summer, and they will have just three matches to work with his side prior to the World Cup.

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