Football: World Cup-winning women's coach quits Japan after Olympic failure

Norio Sasaki quit after Japan's failure to qualify for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Norio Sasaki quit after Japan's failure to qualify for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (REUTERS) - World Cup winner Norio Sasaki quit as coach of the Japanese women's football team on Wednesday, after their surprise failure to qualify for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Sasaki, who led the Nadeshiko to the 2011 World Cup title and silver at the London 2012 Games, ended his reign with a 1-0 Olympic qualifying win over North Korea, a side his team beat 3-2 in his first match in charge back in 2008.

Japan, who were runners-up at last year's World Cup, were already out of contention, though, after an opening 1-3 loss to Australia, 1-1 draw with South Korea and 2-1 defeat by China on home soil, before thrashing Vietnam 6-1.

"I take my job as national coach very seriously and if the results aren't there, you have to take the responsibility," the 57-year-old was quoted as saying by Kyodo News.

"Had we qualified, I was hoping to work a little Norio magic to win us a gold medal in Rio, but I couldn't work the magic even in qualifying.

"But what I can say is that each and every player has to be more accurate. Otherwise, given how competitive it's getting on the world stage, we won't stand a chance."

Australia (13 points) and China (11) qualified as Asia's representatives for the Olympics, which will be held in Brazil from Aug 5-21.