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Vahid Halilhodzic Out, Akira Nishino In for Japan

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Vahid Halilhodzic has left his role as head coach of Japan, just over two months before the Samurai Blue kick off their 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ campaign against Colombia, with the Japanese Football Association (JFA) immediately appointing Akira Nishino as his replacement.

Nishino takes charge of the senior Japanese national side for the first time, after stints at the helm of the U-20 and U-23 side - the latter role seeing him lead his nation at the Olympic Football Tournament Atlanta 1996.

The 63-year-old former Japan international represented his country 12 times but is best known in his homeland for a successful period in charge of Gamba Osaka, from 2002 to 2011. That spell at Gamba included a run to the FIFA Club World Cup semi-finals in 2008, which ended with a thrilling 5-3 defeat to a Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired Manchester United.

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