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Thursday, 3rd November 2016
In Japan Sports News,

Japan's football players too respectful, says coach

The national football team of Japan need to stop being so respectful and start being more aggressive, if they want to get anywhere in the World Cup.

That’s the opinion of Vahid Halilhodzic, Japan’s coach, who has seen the side’s qualifying campaign for the tournament make a stuttering start.

His future could be in doubt if the Blue Samurais don’t make it to the World Cup in Russia in 2018.

Halilhodzic told AFP: "Sometimes I'd really like them to be more aggressive, more street-smart, more vicious."

Going into his ambitions for the team further, he said that ever since he was a player he didn’t like to lose and that’s something that needs to be cultivated within the national team.

Calls have already been made for Halilhodzic to step down after Japan were beaten 2-1 at home by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in September.

They are third in their group, which means no automatic qualification, and face a string of difficult games in order to get through to the finals.

Despite saying he is not afraid of being sacked since that is part and parcel of being a football manager, the coach said he is doing everything he can to turn the side around.

Halilhodzic admitted that as a Franco-Bosnian, his direct style of management does not always go down well with the Japanese, who are known for high standards of politeness.

He added: "A country like Japan has to play at a higher level. I'm truly engaged in this project. I push certain things. I say things that not everyone appreciates."

Since taking the team over in March last year, Halilhodzic’s record has run to 13 wins, two draws and two defeats, but the Samurais must gain victory over Saudi Arabia later this month.

The two national sides will meet in Saitama on November 15th.