It remains to be seen how much longer Javier Aguirre will continue as national team manager, but at least the Japan Football Association did not use last week’s early exit from the Asian Cup as an excuse to fire him.

Japan saw its bid to retain the continental title torpedoed by a quarterfinal penalty shootout loss to the United Arab Emirates in Sydney last Friday, bringing a premature end to Aguirre’s first tournament in charge having taken the reins last August. Defeat on the pitch compounded a period of unprecedented turmoil off it for the Samurai Blue, with Aguirre heading into the tournament under intense scrutiny having been named as a defendant in a match-fixing case relating to his time in the Spanish League in 2011.

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