Japan’s new head coach Akira Nishino is optimistic of the nation reaching the knock stage of this summer’s World Cup. Following disappointing friendly results against Mali and Ukraine in March, the JFA made the surprise decision to sack Vahid Halilhodzic, despite there being just over two months before the World Cup starts in Russia.
Speaking on FIFA.com, Nishino is hoping to put the best team together for the global tournament, and he has set the aim of progressing beyond the group stage, he said: “I will give my all to put together a team for Russia. I feel a strong responsibility. I have been away from the dugout for two years, and now I have to get my mind and body together as a manager. I don’t think we have fallen apart as a team at all. I don’t think we’ve been getting the results we should have and we haven’t reached our full potential yet. I want to get results. It’s the World Cup, so I want us to show that we are good enough to get to the knockout phase.”