Halilhodzic praises players’ resolve after win

Halilhodzic praises players’ resolve after win

Vahid Halilhodzic hailed Japan’s “beautiful” 5-0 win over Afghanistan in 2018 FIFA World Cup and 2019 AFC Asian Cup joint qualifying, singling out Kashima Antlers striker Mu Kanazaki for praise.

“It was a beautiful victory,” the Samurai Blue coach told reporters. “The players were brave, showed fantastic team spirit, and demonstrated the aggression that I asked of them. 

“Their players didn’t come within 16 meters of our goal. This was our first time playing with this formation and by giving new players chances we were able to rest several other players.

“Mu Kanazaki is a newcomer but his presence was very good and he put himself in good positions to receive the ball. His goal wasn’t textbook but I’m glad he scored it. 

“He could have scored two or three more goals but he needs a bit more experience and confidence.”

With advancement to the third round of qualifiers already assured, Japan will conclude the second round against Syria on Tuesday at Saitama Stadium.