Rafael Benitez heaps praise on debutants versus Tottenham Hotspur

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has heaped praise on debutants Yoshinori Muto and Salomon Rondon, who came as late substitutes during the 2-1 Premier League defeat to Tottenham Hotspur. Japan international Muto joined the Magpies on a permanent deal from Mainz earlier in the summer whilst Rondon arrived on a season-long loan from West Bromwich Albion in exchange for Dwight Gayle.

Speaking after the Spurs’ defeat, Benitez was particularly appreciative of the efforts of Muto and Rondon, who managed to make an impact following their introduction onto the playing field, he said: “They did well [Muto and Rondon]. They were trying hard, now it is just about improving the understanding with the rest of their team-mates. So they know what we want to do and how the other team-mates will react. Once they get that, they will be better, but with Muto, Rondon, Joselu and Ayoze (Perez), we have four different kinds of strikers, and that can be good.”

Nishino Unhappy with Own Defensive Tactics against Poland

Japanese national team coach Akira Nishino claimed that he made a couple of mistakes – especially with regards to tactics – in the recent loss against Poland. Japan were expected to be a strong contender to reach the last 16 of the World Cup 2018, as the team were placed in a relatively comfortable group that included the likes of Poland and Senegal. However, a tough set of matches to start the competition led to Japan coming into the game against Poland in a difficult circumstance. Rather than try and go out for a victory, Japan were surprisingly defensive in the 1-0 loss against Poland.

After the game,Nishino admitted that he was playing on Colombia to beat Senegal rather than go for a victory against Poland and suffer more disadvantage in terms of goal difference. Incredibly, this controversial approach surprisingly worked out well for Japan, who were able to end up level with Senegal on a number of parameters. However, Japan were able to progress into the last 16 as a result of picking up two fewer cards. It remains to be seen ifNishino’s open admission will be at a disadvantage to the team when they take on Belgium, who are clear favourites for the World Cup title, in the round of last 16.

Claude Puel open to fresh contract for Shinji Okazaki

Leicester City manager Claude Puel has opened the possibility of extending the stay of Japan international Shinji Okazaki. However, the Foxes boss has insisted that it is not a priority right now, and wants the 31-year-old to continue performing for the east Midlands outfit.

Okazaki was one of the many standout players for Leicester during the 2015/16 season, where they went against the odds to claim their maiden Premier League title. Unlike, other players from title-winning squad, he has failed to earn an improved contract with the club, though Puel is open to keeping hold of his marksman.

New coach appointed for Japan Olympic football team

The powers-that-be in Japanese Olympic football have appointed Hajime Moriyasu as their new coach for the 2020 Games in Tokyo and they have promised the fans that the squad will give their all in their quest for what would be their first medal in the sport since 1968.

Moriyasu is a former midfielder for the national team who won three J League titles in charge of Sanfreece Hiroshima in 2012, 2013 and 2015 but left the job in the summer of this year with the side at the wrong end of the table and in big danger of relegation.

Halilhodzic Not Going to Be Sacked Depending on Australia Result, Says Japan FA

Japan have rejected suggestions that the future of coach Vahid Halilhodzic has been discussed.


It has been speculated that Vahid Halilhodzic could be losing his job if Japan suffer a loss against Australia when they come up against the oceanic team on August 31st. The match will be at theSaitam stadium and it will be the penultimate qualifier for the two teams. If Japan manage to win the game, the team will be able to appear in the World Cup finals for a sixth consecutive time. However, if Japan sustain a defeat in this game, then it would mean a qualifier in order to reach the World Cup 2018 finals. There is a possibility that Japan could suffer a loss against Saudi Arabia in this qualifier.

As a result, there is plenty of speculation thatHalilhodzic may leave his role if Japan are not successful in the game.Halilhodzic was able to get Algeria into the knockout stages of the World Cup 2014 in Brazil. As a result, he was appointed as the coach of Japan in order to get the national team back to the glory days. However, Japan football Association director has claimed that there has been no talk aboutHalilhodzic being replaced as the coach, andHalilhodzic will stay on as the manager irrespective of the result against Australia.

Halilhodzic Claims Australia Have Weaknesses Ahead of Key Qualifier

Japanese national team coach Vahid Halilhodzic claims that Australia are undoubtedly one of the strongest teams coming into the World Cup qualifiers, but he reckons that the opposition do have some weaknesses that Japan can take advantage of.


The manager recently announced his 27 man squad for the competition which will take place on August 31. This will be followed by a game against Saudi Arabia in just five days. The Bosnian coach recently claimed that midfielder and captainMakoto Hasebe will be available for the game after having been unavailable for the last three matches because of an injury.

If Japan managed to win against Australia in the game at the Saitama Stadium, the team would be able to reach the World Cup finals for a sixth consecutive time.Halilhodzic is under great pressure to seal qualification, as Japan are one of the top teams in this region.

KAGAWA MISSES JAPAN WORLD CUP QUALIFIER IN IRAQ

Shinji Kagawa could not feature in Japan’s World Cup qualifier against Iraq due to a dislocated left shoulder as announced by the Japan Football Association.


The Borussia Dortmund midfielder injured his left shoulder 10 minutes into the 1-1 draw with Syria at Tokyo Stadium. He was taken out of the field and substituted for ShuKurata.

“Right now I want the injury to heal as fast as it can” He said in a statement released by the Japan Football Association. “I expect the players will fight for victory against Iraq.”

Yasuyuki Konno found the net in the midway through the second half if the Japan vs Syria 1-1 friendly draw in which the former Manchester United midfielder, Kagawa got his left shoulder dislocated.

The Head coach VahidHalilhodzicnoted that the problem was a concern ahead of Japan’s next match.