Health Care

Japan axe World Cup coach Halilhodzic

Japan axe World Cup coach Halilhodzic

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.

Vahid Halilhodzic has been dismissed as head coach of the Japanese national team, just two months before the World Cup finals, the Japanese Football Association said on Monday.

Nishino will have only 70 days with the Blue Samurai before they play their first match against Colombia in a tough World Cup pool that also includes Poland and Senegal.

Nishino was at the helm for one of Japanese football's greatest triumphs: a 1-0 group stage win at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics over a Brazil side containing Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos. Halilhodzic is also believed to have lost the support of his dressing room.

Hairstylist Haruto Minami, 20, meanwhile, showed some understanding of the decision, saying Halilhodzic may have come under fire from players and other coaches for not sufficiently using 31-year-old Keisuke Honda, a former AC Milan attacking midfielder now playing in Mexico.

The end for Halilhodzic came in two worldwide friendlies last month in Europe against non-World Cup teams. However, further criticism was to follow with poor performances and results in the eight matches played since qualification was secured.

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

A 1-1 draw against Mali followed soon by a 2-1 defeat to Ukraine left many wondering over his future, but the former Bosnia global has now been relieved of his duties after being informed on Saturday afternoon (prior to the official announcement on Monday), according to Goal.

It is not the first time Halilhodzic has been jettisoned just before a major tournament.

South Korea's run to the semifinals in 2002 as co-host remains the best run by an Asian team at the World Cup. And the JFA had been hoping Halilhodzic could create a similar breakthrough for Japan.

Bosnian Halilhodzic, 65, took over the Japanese national team in March 2015.