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JFA announced that Veteran Japanese manager, Akira Nishino, will lead the national team at the World Cup in Russian Federation.

Former Gamba Osaka boss and Japan Football Association technical director Akira Nishino will replace Vahid Halilhodzic as Japan head coach with two months remaining until the start of the World Cup finals in Russian Federation, the association announced Monday.

Nishino will have only 70 days with the Blue Samurai before their first match against Colombia in a group that has Poland and Senegal.

Nishino, 63, was the technical director of the Japan Football Association before his appointment on Monday.

The straight-talking Halilhodzic has made few concessions in Japan's famously polite society, and his style reportedly stirred tensions between the coach and the dressing room.

Japan, South Korea and Australia - traditionally, Asia's most powerful teams - struggled in World Cup qualifying before advancing.

"We did not do this just because of the results, we listened to the player's voices".

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

But he came under pressure following the 1-1 draw against Mali and 2-1 defeat versus Ukraine in the March global window.

Japanese worldwide and Southampton centre back Maya Yoshida has admitted his chock at the choice to replace the team's manager, but will focus on doing as well at the World Cup as possible as the countdown continues.

The former Paris Saint-Germain boss now faces a summer without a World Cup, just as he did eight years ago when Ivory Coast fired him four months before the tournament began.

It will be the sixth successive World Cup appearance by the Blue Samurai, who made it to the last 16 in 2002 when Japan co-hosted the tournament with South Korea and again in 2010.

Halilhodzic was hired in March 2015 after leading Algeria to the knockout stage of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. And the JFA had been hoping Halilhodzic could create a similar breakthrough for Japan.


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