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.
“It was a very tough decision, of course. We conceded a goal, but with the time passing the other match moved [when Colombia took the lead]. When I put on [Makoto] Hasebe [in the 82nd minute] I told him what was in my mind: ‘Do not go for any high risks.’ I told him not to concede any yellow cards, go 4-1-4-1, defensive, and then I told him to tell the team to ‘stay put’. We could not concede another goal. So with the time passing it was my decision to stay put,” said Nishino.