New Japan coach tasked with exacting revenge

TOKYO - The first job Japan's next coach will have to do is exorcise the ghosts of the World Cup by beating Paraguay in a home friendly next month.

The Japan Football Association (JFA) said on Tuesday the South Americans, who knocked the Blue Samurai out of the World Cup on penalties in the last 16, will visit on September 4.

JFA chief Junji Ogura (pictured) told reporters the association was negotiating with Guatemala for a possible game on September 7 and would try to call up Japan's Europe-based players.

Japan have yet to appoint a coach to replace Takeshi Okada, who stepped down after the World Cup in South Africa.

Local media have linked former Dutch coach Marco van Basten and Spaniards Victor Fernandez and Ernesto Valverde with the job.

"We hope to have the new coach decided by August 15," Ogura told reporters. "We want to repay the supporters by calling up our overseas players for the game."

Japan defied expectations after a poor build-up to this year's World Cup by progressing from a group which also included Cameroon, Denmark and the Netherlands.

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