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Japan World Cup 2018 team guide: tactics, key players and expert predictions

The sacking of Vahid Halilhodzic two months before the World Cup has left many scratching their heads although Akira Nishino’s appointment suggests a more attacking philosophy

This article is part of the Guardian’s 2018 World Cup Experts’ Network, a cooperation between some of the best media organisations from the 32 countries who have qualified for Russia. theguardian.com is running previews from two countries each day in the run-up to the tournament kicking off on 14 June.

Related: Makoto Hasebe: slow-starter whose diligence paid off with Japan captaincy

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