Asako Takakura will remain as women’s national head coach for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but she will be tasked with giving her team a new tactical direction, a Japan Football Association executive said Thursday.
Speaking to reporters in Tokyo, JFA Women’s Committee chairwoman Junko Imai confirmed reports that Takakura had received the backing of the governing body at a meeting in late July.
But Imai said Nadeshiko Japan would need to adapt its playing style following a disappointing FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign.
After winning the 2011 World Cup and finishing runners up four years later, Nadeshiko exited this year’s tournament in France with a round-of-16 loss to the Netherlands.
Imai criticized the team, featuring several players with limited international experience, for their weakness in executing and defending set-plays, as well as their indecisiveness in attack.
She said the JFA planned to increase the number of technical staff to help prepare the team for a first Olympic gold medal on home soil.
A former Japan international midfielder, the 51-year-old Takakura took the reins of the national team in 2016. She led Nadeshiko to the Asian Cup trophy in 2018.