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 By Ian Holyman

Vahid Halilhodzic: 'I didn't deserve' Japan sacking so close to World Cup

Vahid Halilhodzic
Vahid Halilhodzic was surprisingly sacked as Japan's coach earlier this week.

Vahid Halilhodzic cannot get over his sacking by Japan with just over two months to go until the start of the World Cup, he has told Goal Croatia.

The former Paris Saint-Germain and Lille boss, who steered Algeria to the round of 16 of the 2014 World Cup, was laying plans for Japan's challenge when he was surprisingly removed from his position earlier this week and replaced by Akira Nishino.

It is similar to the situation Halilhodzic faced in 2010, when he sacked by Ivory Coast in February while...

Japan fire Vahid Halilhodzic, hire Akira Nishino before World Cup

Japan head coach Vahid Halilhodzic
Vahid Halilhodzic has reportedly parted ways with the Japan national team.

Japan fired coach Vahid Halilhodzic on Monday, two months before the World Cup, and immediately replaced him with Akira Nishino, the technical director of the Japanese soccer association.

To explain the abrupt firing, association president Kozo Tashima cited "communication" problems and his players losing trust in the coach.

"This has become an urgent situation," Tashima said. "For the new coach, we had no choice but to promote from within the association as the World Cup is only two months away,"...

South Korea thrash South Korea in Tokyo to win East Asian title

Japan's Vahid Halilhodzic has been experimenting with new players and combinations ahead of the 2018 World Cup.
The ESPN FC panel discuss Group F, which contains Germany, Mexico, Sweden and South Korea.

South Korea handed fellow 2018 World Cup finalists Japan a brutal 4-1 home thrashing on Saturday night as Kim Shin-Wook inspired Shin Tae-Yong's side to a come-from-behind win that sealed a successful defence of the East Asian Championship title.

J.League Player of the Year Yu Kobayashi gave Japan a third minute lead from the penalty spot in Tokyo. But Kim's double, and goals from Jung Woo-young and Yeom Ki-Hun's deflected free-kick, earned the South Koreans an emphatic and historic win.

The defeat...

Shoji wonder goal fires Japan to win vs. China in East Asian Championships

Japan's Vahid Halilhodzic has been experimenting with new players and combinations ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

Gen Shoji's outrageous strike from the edge of the centre circle put considerable gloss on another muted performance from World Cup-bound Japan as Vahid Halilhodzic's makeshift side secured a 2-1 win over China at the East Asian Championship in Tokyo on Tuesday evening.

Shoji's long-range attempt evaded Wang Dalei, despite the goalkeeper having a clear sight of the ball from the moment the central defender took aim, only for the shot to fly over his head to double Japan's lead with just three minutes...

Japan experiment without Kagawa, Okazaki at East Asian Championship

The ESPN FC crew feel Group H is the most unpredictable with Poland, Senegal, Colombia and Japan making up the group.
Jason Dasey and PJ Roberts evaluate Australia's World Cup group and assess whether they or any other Asian teams can progress.

Japan coach Vahid Halilhodzic has set his sights on another two wins in the remaining matches at the East Asian Championship, despite questioning the quality of the squad at his disposal for this week's four-team competition.

The Japanese kicked off their campaign with a late and fortuitous 1-0 win over North Korea on Saturday evening when a deflected injury time strike from Yosuke Ideguchi saw off Jorn Andersen's determined side at Ajinomoto Stadium.

That win put the Japanese on top of the early...