Halilhodzic: Japan will fear no one

He did acknowledge though that he had plenty of work to do before his goal is to be realized.

"Like all teams, this Japan side has its faults and its qualities," he told reporters in Tokyo. 

"We have to correct some weaknesses but we have strengths that we can build on too.

"The team is bursting with talent and enthusiasm," added Halilhodzic.

"The players are extremely disciplined, they like to work and are very respectful – this provides us with a solid base to work on. I'm very optimistic about achieving our objective of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia."

Halilhodzic replaced Javier Aguirre, after the Mexican was sacked over allegations of match-fixing when coaching in Spain.

Japan have been drawn with Syria, Afghanistan, Singapore and Cambodia in Group E of the second qualifying round for the 2018 Fifa World Cup.