Mexican Aguirre becomes Japan coach

The former Mexico boss will take over for Japan, taking the place of Alberto Zaccheroni.

Former Mexico manager Javier Aguirre has been confirmed as Japan’s new national team coach, replacing Italian Alberto Zaccheroni.

Aguirre had parted ways with La Liga’s Espanyol in May, having kept the club in the Spain’s top division in consecutive seasons, despite having a limited budget.

The 55-year-old Mexico City native – known in Mexico as “El Vasco” due to his Basque roots – coached El Tri at the 2002 and 2010 World Cups, reaching the round of 16 on both occasions.

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Reports in Japan suggest Aguirre will be making almost $2.5 million per year and has a two-year contract, although the Japan Football Association (JFA) has not confirmed the details of the deal.

The highlight of Aguirre’s managerial career in Europe was qualifying Atletico Madrid to the Champions League for the first time in 12 years in 2008. He has also coached Osasuna and Real Zaragoza in Spain, as well as Atlante and Pachuca in Mexico.

Japan struggled at the World Cup, losing Group C games to Ivory Coast and Colombia and drawing with Greece.

Aguirre’s first games in charge will be friendlies against Uruguay on Sept. 5 and Venezuela four days later, both in Japan.