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Whether Takeshi Okada’s offer to resign as national team manager immediately after this week’s defeat to South Korea was serious or merely a gesture of apology, the effect is still the same: The growing sense that Japan is heading for World Cup humiliation has now been endorsed by the team’s own leader.

Okada’s comments after the 2-0 loss on Monday suggested he had placed his fate in the hands of Japan Football Association president Motoaki Inukai less than three weeks before the tournament begins, saying: “I have just spoken to the president and asked him if he wanted me to carry on. He said continue.”

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