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Juicy Japan rumors from the front lines

by James Mulligan

MUNICH — Rumor, gossip and half-truths fly around the stadium media centers where the journalists at the World Cup do their work. Here’s some of the juiciest tittle-tattle regarding players and coaches I’ve heard in the past couple of weeks:

– FIFA’s Head of Technical Development Holger Osieck, ex-Urawa Reds and Canadian national team boss, is definitely going to be named the new Japan manager.

– JEF United Chiba coach Ivica Osim is definitely going to be named the new Japan coach.

– Coach Aime Jacquet, who led France to its 1998 World Cup triumph, has been offered the job as Japan coach, but wants to become technical director and get ex-Monaco coach Didier Deschamps in as Japan coach.

– Despite saying he wouldn’t think about any other job until after the World Cup, Zico sent his resume to Scottish club Hearts, inquiring about becoming manager of the club controlled by Lithuanian banker Vladimir Romanov and son Roman.

– Hidetoshi Nakata, who blubbed after Japan crashed out of the World Cup, is definitely going to retire from international football.

– Hidetoshi Nakata was staying in a separate hotel from the rest of the Japan team during the tournament.

– Coach Guido Buchwald wanted his Urawa players Keisuke Tsuboi, Alex Santos and Shinji Ono to stay on in Germany to join the rest of the Reds squad in Stuttgart, where they are having a training camp. However, the JFA insisted the players go back to Japan with the rest of the squad.

– Hidetoshi Nakata and Shunsuke Nakamura were exempt from having to head back to Japan and went straight back to their clubs, Bolton in England and Celtic in Scotland.

– Shinji Ono is leaving Urawa Reds to join Nakamura at Celtic.

More coming soon. . . .