Tuesday Kickoff: Japan first to qualify for World Cup; Heynckes won’t coach next season; and more

JapanCelebratesWorldCupQualification2014 (ToruHanai Reuters)

By DAN KARELL

With a 1-1 draw against Australia on Tuesday morning (late evening local time), Japan became the first nation other than Brazil to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

The result gives Japan 14 points from seven matches, good enough to clinch a place in the top two of their Asian Football Confederation Fourth Round qualifying group. Australia currently sit in second place with seven points from six matches, tied with Jordan.

The match in Saitama, Japan, just outside of Tokyo, was all Japan early on, though Mark Schwartzer did his best in goal to keep the Blue Samurai off the scoreboard. The first shock of the match finally came in the 82nd minute, when Australia midfielder Tommy Oar, who had been torrid crossing the ball all match, looped a half cross-half shot over the head of Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima for the opening goal.

The hosts wouldn’t be denied though, and in the 90th minute, Australia midfielder Matt McKay handled a cross in the box, allowing Japanese forward Keisuke Honda to score from the penalty spot to level the score.

Here are some more stories to get your Tuesday started:

HEYNCKES WON’T MANAGER IN 2013-2014 SEASON

Outgoing Bayern Munich head coach Jupp Heynckes is waving good bye, for now.

The 68-year-old manager, who guided Bayern to a treble of titles this season, the Bundesliga, German Cup, and UEFA Champions League, stated at a press conference on Tuesday that he would not manage next season, needing to take the time off to recharge the batteries after a long season.

“This season I reached my limit. In the past weeks I realised I had reached an age where recovery takes a lot longer,” Heynckes told Reuters. “Coaching Bayern demands a lot of substance, strength and energy.”

However, Heynckes didn’t rule out eventually coming back to management, saying that after he took some time off he would think things over and decide whether he wanted to come back to the game.

PRANDELLI PICKS ITALY SQUAD FOR CONFEDERATIONS CUP

Mario Balotelli, Andrea Pirlo, and Daniele De Rossi lead Cesare Prandelli’s 23-man Italy squad into the Confederations Cup this June 15-30.

The trio were kept on the roster after a training camp featuring 29 players, six of which were released to make the final 23. Among those released were Andrea Ranocchia, Angelo Ogbonna, and Pablo Daniel Osvaldo, who was removed from the squad reportedly for insulting his coach at AS Roma.

Juventus will supply the Italy National Team with seven players, followed by AC Milan who are sending five of their own, including youngsters Stephen El-Shaaarawy and Mattia De Sciglio.

QUICK KICKS

Tottenham Hotspurs midfielder Andros Townsend has been suspended for four months by the FA for a breach of betting regulations. (REPORT)

After being reported yesterday, Sevilla FC confirmed that winger Jesus Navas is on his way out of the club after accepting an offer from Manchester City. (REPORT)

Atletico Madrid have signed 20-year-old forward Leo Baptistao in part to replace Falcao up top for next season. (REPORT)

Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger underwent minor surgery to remove a bone fragment in his heel, but he is expected to be fit for the start of pre-season. (REPORT)

Former England and Mexico head coach Sven-Goran Eriksson has been appointed the latest manager of Chinese Super League club Guangzhou. (REPORT)

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What do you make of these reports? Do you see Japan making a run at the World Cup? Do you believe that Heynckes won’t coach next season? Do you like Italy’s Confederations Cup roster?

Share your thoughts below.

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21 Responses to Tuesday Kickoff: Japan first to qualify for World Cup; Heynckes won’t coach next season; and more

  1. SanFran415 says:

    Bayern Munich have had 9 head coaches in the last 10 years. Unreal.

    • Marcus says:

      Not too surprising…I think Madrid and Inter have had even more coaches than that since 2003, and I’m sure they’re not the only ones…

    • Mig says:

      And of course you can add Chelsea to this list of short term employment opportunities.

    • Frank says:

      No they didn’t. Who are you counting?

      • SanFran415 says:

        Hitzfeld – 04
        Magath – 04 to 07
        Hitflez – 07 to 08
        Klinsmann – 08 to 09
        Heynckes – 09
        van Gaal – 09 to 11
        Jonker – 11
        Heycknes – 11 to 13
        Guardiola – 13 -

        • Frank says:

          I’m not sure why you are counting Guardiola as one of the coaches Bayern has had over the LAST 10 years. He hasn’t even started his job there yet.

          Also: Hitzfeld – 98 to 04. That makes 8 coaches over the last 15 years. Two of those coaches had several stints, and another two took over on an interim basis when the club was looking for a replacement.

          Unreal.

  2. biff says:

    Chances of it happening are slim, but it would not be a big shock to see Jogi Low let go and Jupp Heynckes installed as his replacement. A lot of people would support this move, including the bosses at FC Bayern. I would not be surprised if some people behind the scenes are lobbying for this.

    • Sly says:

      Low said hed quit after the world cup. I can see him dipping next year taking over Madrid or PSG or Monaco or City or Chelesea as another superstar coach in the mold of : Special One, Pelligrini, Sven Goran, Benitez, Pep…

  3. Mig says:

    So is Japan going to get their groove back? They are having a good qualifying session but have been less impressive in friendlies than they were a few years ago. I honestly haven’t seen a complete game of theirs since the Cup.

    I would guess Brazil will be a good location for them, as anything outside of Europe is good for the non-Euro sides.

    • bird says:

      They are having a difficult time figuring out how to play Kagawa and Honda together effectively and it throws off their tempo. Also they dont really have an outright forward that scores consistently. They are rotating players up there hoping to get someone that works. Today was the best that Honda and Kagawa have played together so hopefully they can build on that. Japan v Australia is usually a difficult match and today was no different.

      • Mig says:

        very interesting. I’ll have to watch some of their games later this year.

      • SilverRey says:

        Cool, now when someone asks me where I got my hot tips on Japan I can say a little (lower case letters) bird told me.

  4. Michael says:

    Good for Heynckes…he deserves a nice extended holiday

  5. Mig says:

    What is the US TV outlet for the Confederations Cup? I’m being lazy, I know but we have informed people here.

  6. Dave says:

    Sven is going to Guangzhou R&F not Guangzhou. Don’t get it confused with Asia’s richest club, and the other Chinese Super League club in Guangzhou, Guangzhou Evergrande.

  7. Beto says:

    Congrats to Japan, cya soon