Photo/Illutration Japan’s coach Hajime Moriyasu, center, in a match against Costa Rica in the World Cup in Qatar on Nov. 27 (Shinnosuke Ito)

The Japan Football Association is set to ask current national squad coach Hajime Moriyasu to stay on to lead his country toward the next FIFA World Cup after its members reached a consensus on the matter.

Moriyasu, who led the Japanese team to the group of 16 in the World Cup in Qatar, is likely to accept the offer, having signaled his interest in continuing with the job, sources said.

The Japanese team has qualified for seven straight World Cups since 1998 when the competition was held in France.

The JFAs latest decision marks the first time that association officials were united about the pick so soon after a World Cup ended.

Moriyasu, a former member of the national team, brought in a host of up-and-coming players to vitalize the Japanese squad with veteran players since he took the post for the first time in 2018.

In the group round in Qatar, Japan made global headlines by defeating Germany and Spain, both World Cup champions and ranked well above the country in the FIFA rankings.

However, the Japanese team did not reach the quarterfinal--its goal--as it lost to Croatia in the knockout round.

But Moriyasu, 54, was credited with leading Japan to make it to the round of 16, the second time in a row for the country to reach that level.

After the latest World Cup, the association weighed a list of prospective candidates, including foreign coaches.

But association officials decided that Moriyasu was best for the job, giving him high marks for his managerial skills and considering the importance of continuity for the national squad, the sources said.

After retiring from the sport as an active player, he became the coach of J1 club, Sunfrecce Hiroshima, leading the team to league winner three times.

He also served as coach of the national squad for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, which finished in fourth place.