Zaccheroni resigns as coach of Japan
ITU, Brazil -- Alberto Zaccheroni quit as Japan coach in the wake of the Asian champions' disappointing group-stage exit at the World Cup.
Zaccheroni, who was appointed in 2010 on a four-year contract, announced the decision on Wednesday after earlier saying he'd wait until he returned to Japan to consider his future with the team.
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Japan placed last in Group C with one point -- from a 0-0 draw with 10-man Greece. The Japanese lost 2-1 after leading against Ivory Coast in the group opener and then were routed 4-1 in their last game against Colombia on Tuesday.
Zaccheroni said he was not satisfied with the results.
"I really wanted to take us forward and qualify for the second round and I am so disappointed," Zaccheroni, an Italian, was quoted as telling the Japanese media. "But I picked the team, decided on the tactics and how we play and I want to take full responsibility.
"I told the players and staff that I was happy and proud to be their coach. Over the last four years I have put my heart and soul into helping this team grow."
Zaccheroni said the Japanese players had the speed and skill to compete at the international level, but needed to be more physical.
"I have tried to create a team with speed and intensity and don't think the direction I tried to take the team was the wrong one," he was quoted as saying by the Kyodo news agency. "I think the team should continue on the same path it has been on for the last four years."
Japan won the Asian Cup for a fourth time in 2011 and will travel to Australia as defending continental champion for the 2015 tournament.