Japan FA “fully supported” head coach Vahid Halilhodzic ahead of crucial World Cup qualifiers

The Japan Football Association (JFA) has defended coach Vahid Halilhodzic for the unconvincing performance of the national team at the 2018 World Cup qualification.

Quoted by Japan Times, technical director Akira Nishino said the Japan football governing body fully supported Halilhodzic. However, he refused to discuss speculation on the coaching situation beyond the Australia game.

“All the talk right now is positive. We don’t discuss speculations or ifs and buts, and the issue was not raised today,” Nishino said after a meeting of the JFA technical committee.

“We just want to get it done at home against Australia and that’s it. We haven’t performed well against Australia in the past. It’s going to be a massive game, at home, and we want to decide it. That is our sole focus.”

“We — from the president to me to the technical committee — have always maintained that we will be fully behind this team during the World Cup qualifying, and that hasn’t changed.”

Japan, who are the table toppers of Group B in Asia’s qualifying tournament, are looking for a win against Australia at Saitama Stadium on August 31, to seal their place at the World Cup finals in Russia.

However, defeats against Australia and Saudi Arabia, who they meet on 5 September, would leave the team facing playoffs to progress.