Soccer

JFA plans tactical changes for Nadeshiko Japan boss Asako Takakura's squad ahead of Olympics

Kyodo

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.

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