Japan national team head coach: Japan can be challengers, not tourists in Russia

After booking a spot in 2018 World Cup finals with a victory over Australia on Thursday qualifier, Japan national team head coach Vahid Halilhodzic has already turned his focus towards next year in Russia.

“I am counting on the J-League and the JFA to put together a good schedule ahead of the World Cup,” the Bosnian told Kyodo News.

”When we go to the World Cup, we will have four weeks to get ready. Four weeks will allow me to mould the team the way I want to mentally and physically.

“Then we can go to the World Cup as challengers, not tourists.”

Prior to the Australia game, local media reported that Halilhodzic’s position was jeopardized, but JFA President Kozo Tashima told reporters after the Australia match that he wanted Halilhodzic in charge through the World Cup.

Samurai Blue will round off their qualifying campaign against Saudi Arabia in Jeddah on 5 September.