Japan national team



National teams

Japan national football team (サッカー日本代表 [Sakkā Nippon Daihyō]) represents Japan in association football and is operated by the Japan Football Association (JFA), the governing body for association football in Japan. The current head coach is Vahid Halilhodžić.

Japan is one of the most successful football teams in Asia, having qualified for the last five consecutive FIFA World Cups with second round advancements in 2002 & 2010, and having won the AFC Asian Cup a record four times in 1992, 2000, 2004 & 2011. The team has also finished second in the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup. Their principal continental rivals are South Korea and, most recently, Australia.

Japan is the only team from outside the Americas to participate in the Copa América, having been invited in 1999 and 2011 Although they initially accepted the invitation for the 2011 tournament, the JFA later withdrew following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.

The Japanese team is commonly known by the fans and media as Sakkā Nippon Daihyō (サッカー日本代表?), Nippon Daihyō (日本代表?), or Daihyō (代表?) as abbreviated expressions. Although the team does not have an official nickname as such, it is often known by the name of the manager. For example, under Takeshi Okada, the team was known as Okada Japan (岡田ジャパン Okada Japan?). Recently the team has been known or nicknamed as the "Samurai Blue", while Japanese news media still refer it to by the manager's last name, as "Halilhodžić Japan" (ハリルホジッチジャパン Hariruhojitchi Japan?), or "Halil Japan" (ハリルジャパン Hariru Japan?) in an abbreviated form.