Vahid Halilhodzic: 'I didn't deserve' Japan sacking so close to World Cup

Vahid Halilhodzic cannot get over his sacking by Japan with just over two months to go until the start of the World Cup, he has told Goal Croatia.

The former Paris Saint-Germain and Lille boss, who steered Algeria to the round of 16 of the 2014 World Cup, was laying plans for Japan's challenge when he was surprisingly removed from his position earlier this week and replaced by Akira Nishino.

It is similar to the situation Halilhodzic faced in 2010, when he sacked by Ivory Coast in February while preparing for the World Cup in South Africa.

And he is again struggling to come to terms with being denied the opportunity to lead his team into the competition.

"History is repeating itself," he said." I'm still in shock and it's very difficult for me to accept this decision. And believe me: I didn't deserve that.

"There was a very good atmosphere in the squad and the results were good. Everything was in place to have a good World Cup. And then what happened has happened. I'm sad, shocked and downcast."

Halilhodzic, 65, was appointed by the Japanese FA in March 2015, but having secured Japan's place in the World Cup, he had seen his team's form slump, losing recently to South Korea and Ukraine as well as drawing with Mali.

The Bosnian, however, sees different reasons for his dismissal and intends to speak to the Japanese FA about them in person.

"Why was I sacked? In Japan, everything is focused on money, and that's how they perceive football too," he said. "That is, according to me, the main reason. I will go to Japan in a week to get that cleared up.

"There was absolutely no incident between me and the players. None at all. But certain established players were worried about their place in the squad. Two or three of them hadn't played recently and I'm sure they were afraid. But you find players disappointed with their status everywhere."