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'No chance!' says Troussier as Japan play Russian

AFP  |  Tokyo 

Crisis-hit would struggle to avoid an early exit even under Jose -- that's the stinging assessment of former

The Blue Samurai controversially axed in April and replaced him with former Football Association (JFA) -- a high-risk move that had a feel of Russian roulette about it.

But Troussier told AFP that a side bereft of confidence had "no chance" of reaching the knockout stage in Russia, where they face Colombia, and

"Even if they play with or Arsene Wenger, it would be so difficult for Japan to get to the last 16," said the Frenchman, who steered the former Asian champions to the second round as co-hosts of the 2002

"If was the first match it would be different. But the fact that is the first match and the second -- for me, on paper at least they have no chance, no chance."

Nishino has long coveted the Japan job but could quickly find it a poisoned chalice after 2-0 defeats by and in his first two games in charge.

"I was so surprised about the decision (to sack Halilhodzic)," said Troussier.

"But for a long time the JFA were not happy and decided maybe it was better to take the decision before and not wait for the first game to hit the wall." The 63-year-old flagged his intentions by turning to Japan's old guard, in particular talismanic forward and playmaker -- two of the players thought to have been at loggerheads with Halilhodzic.

- Baptism of fire -


But it has proved to be a baptism of fire for Nishino since Halilhodzic's dismissal plunged Japan's preparations into chaos before their sixth successive World Cup appearance.

forward has also returned from but Japan offered little against and Switzerland, after which Honda warned of a "sense of crisis".

Troussier warned that the JFA's decision to switch coaches could backfire as Japan look to avoid crashing out at the first hurdle again.

"They face strong pressure because now they have to get to the last 16," said the former and South If they don't, it will be a failure for the JFA."

With lethal finishers Sadio Mane, and bearing down on their goal in Russia, Japan could face death by a thousand cuts, Troussier fears.

"and have three, four, five players who can make the difference at any time," said the 63-year-old.

"This situation troubles me. It will be so difficult for Japan given the individual potential of Senegal and "

However, Troussier said Japan could still spring a surprise at

"You need luck and some refereeing decisions to go your way," he said.

"In 2002 reached the last four and in a third division side (Les Herbiers) got to the final of the cup (this year). That's the story of the cup and sometimes you can be very surprised.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, June 11 2018. 13:40 IST