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Coach Zaccheroni quits after Japan endures World Cup disappointment

TOKYO -- Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni announced his resignation on Wednesday and said he took “full responsibility” for the Asian champions' winless exit from the World Cup.

Zaccheroni, 61, brought a squad full of optimism to Brazil but the Blue Samurai suffered a brutal reality check culminating in Tuesday's 4-1 rout by Colombia.

“I am disappointed and not satisfied with the results,” the Italian told a press conference at the team's base camp in Itu, Brazil, according to Kyodo news agency.

“I really wanted to take us forward and qualify for the second round and I am so disappointed. But I picked the team, decided on the tactics and how we play and I want to take full responsibility.”

Zaccheroni becomes the third coach to quit in recent days after Italy's Cesare Prandelli and Sabri Lamouchi of Ivory Coast both fell on their swords after World Cup failures.

Zaccheroni's contract was due to expire after the tournament but his resignation leaves Japan needing to bed in a new coach quickly before their Asian Cup defense in January.

Japan waltzed through qualifying and came to Brazil with high hopes and a squad including Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa, Keisuke Honda of AC Milan and Inter's Yuto Nagatomo.

But after taking the lead against Ivory Coast, they lost the opener 2-1 and then drew 0-0 against Greece. Tuesday's big defeat to Colombia left them rock-bottom in Group C.

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