The Japan Football Association said Friday it has renewed the contract of national team coach Zico until mid-December 2005 to keep the Brazilian at the helm for the Asian final-round qualifiers for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Zico, who will lead Japan in its opening qualifier match against North Korea on Feb. 9 in Saitama, took over as coach for Japan in July 2002 and has renewed his contract each year.

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