In April 2018, when just 2 months before world cup, Vahid Halilhodzic was dismissed by JFA for his poor run of results. The Japanese National Team, which had been falling into disorder, was in expectation of making themselves alive from dying, so, Nishino Akira, who had been coaching Gamba Osaka, a big club in J. League, was selected as the head coach of Japanese Team.
In the group stage of 1996 Atlanta Olympics Men's Soccer Match, as head coach, Nishino led Japan U-23 beat strong team of Brazil with 1-0, creating "Miami miracle". He prefers attack-type tactics and respects the opinions and creativity of football players, and advocates to play creative football.
After taking office, the first and foremost thing Nishino did was to rebuild the team communication that collapsed due to Halilhodzic's system. He listened to what the players want one by one so that the players could play the game heartily, the atmosphere of the team was also sweetness and light.
However, in the first match with Ghana, Nishino Japan was disappointing, they lost match 0-2. In the interview after the game, Nishino said "I'm very sorry we didn't score". As for the result of this match, the coach of Nishino also indicated that he did not intend to follow the defensive football theory of Halilhodzic.
But Nishino Japan also lost in the second battle with the Swiss. Faced with such fact, Nishino replaced most of the players in the third match with Paraguay, the move immediately worked, Japanese Team won Paraguay with a beautiful 4-2.
The Japanese National Men Soccer Team, whose morale had been greatly increased due to the victory with Paraguay, finally ushered in the official competition of the 2018 Russia World Cup. This time, Japan was drawn in Group H with Colombia, Senegal and Poland.
The Japanese Team’s first battle was against the Colombian Team, the enemy of fate in the Brazil World Cup four years ago. With the active performance of Japanese ace players Shinji Kagawa and Yuya Osako, the Japanese Team won with a score of 2-1.
In the second match with Senegal,although Sadio Mane, a football star with fast speed, scored first, yet Japanese Team fully demonstrated their indomitable spirit and drew the score, ended match with 2-2.
At this time, the Japanese team's group points is 4, in the third match against Poland, as long as does not tie with them, the Japanese Team would unconditionally enter the knockout match of World Cup. But Japan lost 0-1. However, Senegal also lost to Colombia with 0-1, so Japan's group points, goal difference and total number of goals were all the same with Senegal, eventually Japanese Team advanced to the knockout match at Colombia's heels with team's second place by slight advantage in fair play points (Japan -4, Senegal - 6 ).
The opponent of Japan in the knockout match was tough European team Belgium, the No.1 of Group G. In the second half, depend on the scores of Genki Haraguchi and Takashi Inui, Japan once led Belgium 2-0, but in the end they didn't withstand the crazy counterattack of the European Red Devils Belgium, lost this match with a reversed score 2-3, the Japanese Team also ended the journey of the Russian World Cup.
This knock match is called "Rostov Tragedy" by Japanese. Although Japanese Team is six to one with Belgian Team, yet the Japanese plays' spirit of never giving up touches the whole of Japan.
Are you satisfied with the 10th series of "History of Japan's Participation in World Cup"? In the future, Japanese Team will continue to move forward, and this series of articles will be finished at this time. Then see you in the 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup four years later.
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