Soccer: Honda, Kagawa facing the axe as pressure mounts on Halilhodzic

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19:29 14 November 2016

By Shintaro Kano
SAITAMA, Japan, Nov. 14, Kyodo

Japan coach Vahid Halilhodzic suggested Monday he may leave both Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa out of the lineup for the 2018 World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia, a game that could determine the fate of his team in the campaign for Russia.

“I have some decision to make,” Halilhodzic said on the eve of the Saudi game at Saitama Stadium. “As I’ve said a number of times, I really need some of the players to be playing more on a regular basis. They’re not robots so unless they do, it’s hard for them to hit top form.”

“We’ve talked. A team isn’t all about the first 11 players. Saudi Arabia, for example, have been winning games at the death pretty much every time and it’s because of their players coming off the bench. They have been the difference.”

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