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Japan sack Vahid Halilhodzic as head coach

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By Euronews
Japan sack Vahid Halilhodzic as head coach

With the clock ticking dwn and only two month remaning until the World Cup finals Japan have sacked Vahid Halilhodzic as head coach of the national team.

He has been replaced by Akira Nishino.

Halilhodzic led the team to their sixth straight World Cup finals.

Pressure had been building about the team's form heading into the tournament, and a draw with Mali and defeat to Ukraine in friendly matches did nothing to ease concerns.

Kozo Tashima, President of the Japanese Football Association, said: "We set up some friendlies after we got into the World Cup but finally we decided to fire him two days ago.

"We did not do this just because of the results, we listened to the player's voices. After the matches against Mali and the Ukraine, the relationship and trust between the coaches and the players broke down."

Nishino, who spent 10 seasons in charge of Gamba Osaka in 2016, will have little time to prepare for the World Cup, where Japan are drawn in Group H alongside Colombia, Poland and Senegal.

Japan have three friendly matches scheduled before opening their World Cup campaign against Colombia on June 19.