JFA says Nishino will not return as Japan's coach

Japanese soccer team coach Akira Nishino speaks during a press conference upon his team's return from the World Cup in Russia, at a hotel in Narita, near Tokyo, Thursday, July 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)
Japanese soccer team coach Akira Nishino, right, speaks as captain Makoto Hasebe smiles during a press conference upon their team's return from the World Cup in Russia, at a hotel in Narita, near Tokyo, Thursday, July 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)

TOKYO — Despite leading his team to a thrilling and unexpected ride at the World Cup, Akira Nishino will not be back as Japan's coach.

The Japan Football Association confirmed on Thursday that Nishino will not continue as coach of the national team when his term concludes at the end of July.

"We (the JFA) will not persuade Nishino to stay on the job as his term comes to an end." JFA president Kozo Teshima told a media conference Thursday.

Japan's squad returned home on Thursday following its round-of-16 defeat to Belgium at the World Cup in Russia.

The 63-year-old Nishino took over just two months before the World Cup following the surprise dismissal of Vahid Halilhodzic.

Exceeding expectations, Nishino led Japan to its first appearance in the knockout stage since the 2010 tournament in South Africa.

In April, the JFA said Nishino would manage the team until the end of the tournament.

"I coached the team with the notion that I will only do this until the end of the World Cup. I feel like I've fulfilled my duties," said Nishino, who was the JFA's technical director before taking the job.

Four years after a hugely disappointing campaign in Brazil, Japan entered the World Cup as one of the lowest-ranked sides. Few expected the Blue Samurai to get out of their group, not least because of the change at the top.

But following a 2-1 victory over Colombia and a 2-2 draw with Senegal, Japan advanced from its group despite a 1-0 defeat to Poland in its final group match. Admittedly, its progress was down to the fact that it received fewer yellow cards than Senegal after the teams could not be separated on points, goal difference or goals scored.

After a series of lackluster results in friendlies under Halilhodzic leading up to the World Cup, the JFA sacked the Bosnian saying there were communication problems between him and some of the players.

Nishino took over with little time to prepare and got Japan to play a more attacking style which was on display when they took a surprising 2-0 lead over Belgium before three late goals dashed hopes of an upset.

Must Read

Nadal, Federer cruise into Shanghai Masters quarterfinals

Oct 12, 2017

Rafael Nadal has won his 14th consecutive match to reach the Shanghai Masters quarterfinals,...

Pavlyuchenkova, Gavrilova advance to Hong Kong semis

Oct 13, 2017

The highest ranked player left in the Hong Kong Open, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia has beaten...

Nadal, Federer advance to Shanghai final for 38th encounter

Oct 14, 2017

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will face each for the 38th time after advancing to the Shanghai...

Ormsby wins, Cabrera Bello runner-up again in Hong Kong

Nov 26, 2017

Australia's Wade Ormsby won the 2017 Hong Kong Open, Sunday in dramatic fashion to give him his...

Vettel takes pole in China, and Ferrari looks like it's back

Apr 14, 2018

Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari will be on pole position for Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix as he looks...

AseanCoverage is a next-gen news site focusing exclusively on online news from South East Asia.

Contact us: sales[at]aseancoverage.com