Japan extend Moriyasu contract to 2026 World Cup

Getty Images

Japan head coach Hajime Moriyasu has extended his contract with the national side following a successful performance at the World Cup in Qatar.

The Samurai Blue were one of the tournament's surprise packages, beating Germany and Spain in the group stages to top Group E, before suffering a penalty shoot-out defeat to Croatia in the last 16.

After impressing in Qatar, Japanese Football Association president Kozo Tajima announced Moriyasu had extended his contract to run until after the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Japan have featured in every World Cup tournament since 1998, including as co-hosts alongside South Korea four years later, but have never entered consecutive tournaments under the same head coach – a record Moriyasu will look to change.

Ranked 50th when he took charge in 2018, Japan have climbed to 20th in FIFA's World Rankings – their highest position since 2005 (15th).

The highest-ranked Asian nation, Moriyasu's side return to action in March, when they will play two friendlies as part of the 2023 Kirin Challenge Cup.