Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni has announced his resignation and said he took "full responsibility" for the Asian champions' winless exit from the FIFA World Cup™.
Zaccheroni, 61, brought a squad full of optimism to Brazil but the Blue Samurai suffered a brutal reality check culminating in the final match: a 4-1 rout by Colombia.
"I am disappointed and not satisfied with the results," he told a press conference at the team's base camp in Itu, Brazil, according to Kyodo news agency. "I really wanted to take us forward and qualify for the second round and I am so disappointed. But I picked the team, decided on the tactics and how we play and I want to take full responsibility."
Japan also lost their opening game 2-1 to Côte d'Ivoire and ground out a 0-0 draw with Greece and it was enough to send them home as the bottom team in Group C.
"I told the players and staff that I was happy and proud to be their coach. Over the last four years I have put my heart and soul into helping this team grow," Zaccheroni said. "I think the culture of Japanese soccer and the special characteristics and technique of the players can cut it on the world stage but physical strength is what is lacking."
"I have tried to create a team with speed and intensity and don't think the direction I tried to take the team was the wrong one. I think the team should continue on the same path it has been on for the last four years."