Thanassis Stavrakis/Associated Press
Japan left Brazil hugely disappointed with only one point.
Japan has been a regular participant in the World Cup since France in 1998 and showed significant progress in its 2010 campaign.
When Japan was drawn into Group C—along with Colombia, Greece and Ivory Coast—it looked like they had a decent chance to make it into the knockout stage.
Not only did they fail to qualify to the second round, but they were last in the group.
Half of Japan’s roster play in European and Japanese football has shown that it can compete at the highest level, so an early exit is definitely a step back. Japan’s main stars, like Manchester United’s Shinji Kagawa, didn’t shine a bit.
Curiously, Japan's World Cup campaigns with two very different playing-style foreign coaches were unsuccessful at the most important tournament in football: Zico in Germany in 2006 and Alberto Zaccheroni this year.
Maybe it is time for the Japanese to trust their own coaches more who understand the Japanese footballers' virtues and faults, and who can probably imprint a Japanese playing style that doesn’t intend to be Brazilian or Italian.
After all it was Japanese coach Takeshi Okada who took them into the second round in South Africa.
The days for Japanese football to rely on foreign coaches for improvement should be in the past.