Okada takes the blame

With Japan losing out in a tense penalty shoot-out with Paraguay, the coach announces immediately afterwards that he seems to have achieved all that he could.

PRETORIA // Takeshi Okada, the Japan coach mocked in the run-up to the World Cup for his assertion that his side could reach the last four, cut a depressed and disappointed figure last night when quizzed on his future. Okada watched his side fall out of the tournament in a tense penalty shoot-out with Paraguay following a scoreless stalemate and he announced immediately afterwards that he felt he had achieved all that he could.

"Our objective was to score the goals to win, but unfortunately we were not able to do that," Okada said. "In terms of how we played, I have no regrets at all. The players were wonderful and they have been truly proud of being Japanese and representing Asia as a whole. "They played until the end, so I am proud, but I was not able to get them to win. That is my responsibility; I did not do enough."

When asked if he would remain as coach of the Blue Samurais, Okada responded: "I don't think there is anything else for me to do now [with this team]." Japan have surprised many football followers this month in South Africa, impressing throughout the tournament and displaying technical prowess, guile and a keen eye for goal. But yesterday, after having struggled to break down a physically imposing Paraguay backline, Okada refused to accept his country had achieved their goal.

"We did not come here to play football and surprise people. We have always said that we were going to win, and it is because of the positive results that we have surprised people. But now I am not satisfied, because we did not win. "Football is not a leisure, it is a sport and it has winners and losers. "We needed to win and what we have done has not been sufficient." @Email:gmeenaghan@thenational.ae