Japan eye ex-Mexico coach Aguirre
Coach Javier Aguirre
Coach Javier Aguirre (Photo: Reuters)
AFP
Thursday 26 Jun 2014
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The Japan Football Association has already started negotiations with the Mexican veteran, who led his nation to the last-16 twice in 2002 and 2010, the Sports Nippon said in its online edition

Japan's football bosses turned their attention Thursday to the hunt for a new coach after Alberto Zaccheroni resigned in the wake of a winless World Cup, with media reports suggesting ex-Mexico chief Javier Aguirre was in the frame.

The Japan Football Association has already started negotiations with the Mexican veteran, who led his nation to the last-16 twice in 2002 and 2010, the Sports Nippon said in its online edition.

Japan went to Brazil brimful of confidence after an easy qualifying campaign, with predictions they would reach the quarterfinals and even a suggestion from talismanic forward Keisuke Honda that the Blue Samurai could win the competition.

But the Asian champions never really fired, and their best result was a spiritless 0-0 draw against Greece.

Less than 24 hours after a 4-1 walloping by Colombia, Zaccheroni fell on his sword, bringing down the curtain on a four-year reign.

Sports Nippon said despite the failure in Brazil, the team needs to stick to the path the Italian tactician put them on, emphasising speed and intensity, and is looking for a successor with a similar style.

Aguirre, 55, has a long career coaching in Europe, particularly in Spain, directing clubs such as RCD Espanyol, CA Osasuna, and Atletico Madrid.

JFA "Executive director (Hiromi) Hara, who will take command in handpicking the successor, worships the soccer in Spain, which makes Aguirre a perfect candidate," the Sports Nippon said.

The Daily Sports Online, meanwhile, reported Japan has already approached Jose Pekerman, the coach of Columbia's national team, who handed the team their drubbing on Tuesday in Cuiaba.

Zaccheroni, 61, announced his resignation on Wednesday and said he took "full responsibility" for the Asian champions' exit from Brazil with no win.

His contract was due to expire after the tournament but his resignation leaves Japan needing to bed in a new coach quickly before their Asian Cup defence in January.

Zaccheroni's departure after Brazil 2014 has been widely seen as a foregone conclusion as his four predecessors left the job immediately after the Blue Samurai's four straight World Cup campaigns regardless of their results.

Japan waltzed through qualifying and brought a squad full of quality to the tournament, including AC Milan's Honda, Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa, and Inter's Yuto Nagatomo.

But after taking the lead against Ivory Coast, they lost the opener 2-1 and then drew 0-0 against Greece. Tuesday's big defeat to Colombia left them rock-bottom in Group C.

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