Vahid Halilhodzic reckons that in spite of toppling UAE in their backyard, Japan’s job is still incomplete and the players should not lose their focus in the wake of that victory
Back in Japan, there was a lot of anticipation for this game against UAE because when UAE had visited Japan for the first leg of the tie, it was a very controversial game.
A lot of decisions of the match officials had gone against the home team resulting in their defeat and leaving everyone in Japan very, very angry.
Since then, the return leg was hyped as an opportunity of avenging that loss and now that Japan has managed to do that, the players are being showered with praises by the media and the fans.
But, as per Halilhodzic, the feet of the players should remain grounded in spite of these praises because they have not qualified till now.
It often happens after a victory that the team loses its focus and the result turns out to be absolutely horrific the next time they play.
And if there is a defeat in the next game, then the victory against UAE would prove to be meaningless.
So it’s important to capitalize on that victory and secure another victory over Thailand and for that, the players will have to be focused as they were before the UAE trip.
Halilhodzic says he doesn’t want to pay too much attention to the number of points at the moment. He is just looking for a victory in every game that comes in the way.
There are three games remaining for Japan and if they win all three, it will itself make sure that they have enough number of points to remain in top two in Group B and thus, advance to the showpiece tournament in Russia.