• Kyodo

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Japan coach Vahid Halilhodzic is not losing his job any time soon, Japan Football Association technical director Masahiro Shimoda said Monday.

Upon returning from Wuhan, China, where Japan finished last at the East Asian Cup for the first time, Shimoda came to the defense of his Bosnian manager whose side lost to North Korea and drew with South Korea and the hosts.

It was Japan’s first-ever winless East Asian Cup campaign. The four-time Asian champions also drew 0-0 at home to Singapore in a World Cup qualifier in June.

“Our view of him hasn’t changed one bit,” Shimoda said of the former Algeria coach at Haneda airport. “We did see improvement in the performances over the course of the tournament.

“If we keep training the way we have, we will be a strong team. We don’t have time to be sulking over the results from this competition.”

Japan resumes its qualifying campaign for Russia 2018 in September, when it hosts Cambodia on Sept. 3 and faces Afghanistan away in Tehran five days later.

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