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REAL MADRID

Japan's World Cup coach attends Real Madrid training session

Akira Nishino, en un entrenamiento de Japón.

LISI NIESNER

REUTERS

Akira Nishino, who was in charge of the Japan team at last year's World Cup finals, was at the Bernabéu on Wednesday and will watch tomorrow's Clásico.

Akira Nishino, who was Japan's coach at World Cup Russia last year, was in Valdebebas this morning to watch the Real Madrid squad prepare for tomorrow's Clásico against Barcelona at the Bernabéu.

The 63-year-old coach has been spending the week in Madrid and was at the Bernabéu to watch Wednesday's Copa del Rey semi-final return leg. He was invited to watch the players at work today and will be back at the Bernabéu for tomorrow's league meeting with Barça but this time, as a pundit for Japanese television channel WOWOW who will be broadcasting the match.

Japan, a las puertas de los cuartos

Nishino took the reins of the Japan team as caretaker coach after Vahid Halilhodzic was sacked two month's before last summer's World Cup finals.

His Japan side left an excellent impression in Russia and looked to be on course for a place in the quarter finals only to lose to Belgium, agonizingly, in extra-time. The Samurai Blue had been leading 2-0 until Belgium pulled two goals back late in the second half. In th final minute of extra-time, with a penalty shoot-out looming, Belgium hit Japan on the break to score a last gasp winner. "We weren't expecting a counter-attack like that", Nishino lamented afterwards, in what was his final game in charge of the national team.