Soccer: Moriyasu says new coaches can take Japan attack to next level

Japan manager Hajime Moriyasu expressed optimism Saturday that new coaches Hiroshi Nanami and Ryoichi Maeda can elevate his side's attack as they prepare for the next World Cup cycle leading to the 2026 tournament in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Former Japan midfielder Nanami, 50, part of the Samurai Blue squad when they made their World Cup debut in 1998 in France, and forward Maeda, 41, were both announced as new national team coaches on Jan. 17.

"They can add to our attack as we look to produce (better) results," said Moriyasu, who led Japan to the last 16 at the World Cup in Qatar after securing historic wins over Germany and Spain in the group stage.

Japan's first two games after the World Cup are scheduled for March 24 in Tokyo and four days later in Osaka.

Moriyasu is bound for Europe for around two weeks, visiting countries including France and Germany to meet with players such as national captain Maya Yoshida of Bundesliga side Schalke.

"I'd like to hear what the achievements and problems were at the World Cup from the players' perspectives," Moriyasu said before departing from Haneda airport.

© Kyodo News