Halilhodzic praises Japan spirit

Halilhodzic praises Japan spirit

Vahid Halilhodzic is choosing to take heart from Japan’s performances at the East Asian Cup 2015, despite the side finishing winless after drawing 1-1 with China in their final match.

The trend of failing to find the breakthrough against opponents extended from the opening 2-1 defeat to North Korea to only being able to grind out a 1-1 stalemate with South Korea next.

But Halilhodzic remained unconcerned by the Samurai Blue’s showings across the three-way tournament, and sees a basis to build a strong team of the future.

“I learnt a lot about our domestic-based players. There were several players who could play for the full national team, and others who still have a lot of work to do,” the Bosnian told reporters.

“In general everyone showed fantastic spirit. I think everyone saw that we improved in terms of power as this tournament went on. We were more organised, defended better, and in general I think Japan played well.

“The players displayed terrific power in these three matches and if we had a little more time to prepare I think the results would have gone differently.

“But regardless, we made several discoveries in this tournament. We found two or three great players and I’m satisfied with their performances.

“Our first goal was to win, but we had a goal beyond that as well. This wasn’t a B-team, but I wanted to find players who could establish a regular position in the squad.”

Japan’s next match will be their World Cup 2018-Asian Cup 2019 joint qualifying campaign against Cambodia on September 3.

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