The Japan Football Association (JFA) said on Thursday that national team coach Akira Nishino will step down when his term ends at the end of July. Also Read - Pele Backs Kylian Mbappe to Become Best Player of His Generation, Says French Forward Can Emulate His Tally of 1000 Goals

“We will not ask Nishino to stay on the job but hope he will continue to make contribution to Japanese football in other forms,” said JFA President Kozo Tashima at a press conference after the national team returned from Russia. Also Read - Manchester City Striker Gabriel Jesus Reflects on His Dipped Form Following World Cup Campaign

Nishino, who also appeared at the press conference, thanked his team, saying that he hopes Japan could break the cycle of reaching the World Cup round of 16 every eight years (in 2002, 2010, 2018) and make a breakthrough at Qatar 2022, reports Xinhua news agency.

Nishino took up the job after the JFA abruptly fired former head coach Vahid Halilhodzic in April, citing lack of trust and communication between Halilhodzic and his team members.

Under Nishino’s reins, the Samurai Blue reached the World Cup round of 16 for the first time since the 2010 tournament in South Africa but were knocked out after a 2-3 defeat to Belgium.