Italian Alberto Zaccheroni (photo), the coach of Japanese male national soccer team, is the best in Japan’s history, said Australia coach Holger Osieck before the clash between the two teams on Tuesday.
Australia is facing Japan in the fourth round of Asian Football Confederation World Cup qualifiers, a competition that leads to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
“I could follow the development for almost 20 years, and the change that has taken place in Japanese football is significant,” said Osieck, who has been connected to the Japanese soccer since 1995.
Osieck is seeing a change of mentality, too. “The new generation is a free generation, an open-minded generation. They are not afraid anymore, whereas a number of years ago people were reserved and frightened of foreigners but that has changed drastically.”
“Their different mind-set reflects in the performance on the field. They are a different generation of players playing in the top teams in Europe and I think that is the significant difference,” he added, according to Kyodo.
Japan has maximum of points after two games in the qualifying competition, with a goal difference of nine. Zaccheroni is coaching Japan since 2010.