5/8/2018 5:01:11 PM (GMT+3)

I want us to show we're good enough to advance into knockout: Japan coach

I want us to show we

NEW DELHI: Japan, who will be making their sixth appearance in Russia, is the only team besides Brazil to have appeared at every World Cup finals since making their debut in 1998.

New coach Akira Nishino, who replaced Vahid Halilhodzic in April, exuded confidence.

“It’s the World Cup. I want Japan to show that we are good enough to get to the knockout round. But first of all, I want the players to perform in the way that they are capable of,” Nishino told fifa.com.

A solitary win over New Zealand since topping Asia’s Group B has left fans unsure of what they will see when they walk out against Colombia.

However, with Senegal and Poland making up Group H, it is arguably as wide open and unpredictable.

The Blue Samurai had bowed out at the group stage four years ago, which also had Côte d’Ivoire and Colombia, with just a point.

Nishino has been Japan Football Association (JFA) Technical Director since 2016, but is famous in his country for guiding the national team to a victory over Brazil at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

The 63-year-old said his desire is to play an attacking brand of football at the World Cup.

“If possible, I want to fight offensively and the players want to fight with the same spirit,” he added.

By the time Halilhodzic was dismissed in April, Japan had won only three of their last 10 games.

Japan won’t play any Group H games in Kazan, where they have their training base.

After opening against Colombia in Saransk on June 19, the team travels to Yekaterinburg to play Senegal on June 24 and then faces Poland in Volgograd on June 28. 

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