HANOI, July 15 (Reuters) - Japan coach Ivica Osim's grumpiness at the Asian Cup reached bizarre new levels on Sunday when he snapped at reporters to stop asking him about rabbits!
The Bosnian's long-running game of cat and mouse with the media continued unabated on the eve of Japan's final Group B game against co-hosts Vietnam.
Even the simplest of questions were shot down in flames by an irritated Osim, whose attempts to bring a swift end to his news conferences are becoming increasingly peculiar.
'We have a proverb in my country that says it is pointless looking for unborn rabbits in the forest,' he shrugged when asked about Monday's game in Hanoi.
'I'm not in the speculation business. We could lose. There are several mathematic equations involved. You have calculators -- you work it out!'
Japan, bidding for a third straight Asian Cup, lead Vietnam on goal difference in Group B with both teams on four points from two games.
Qatar, who play United Arab Emirates in Ho Chi Minh, have drawn both their matches while UAE are already out after losing to both Vietnam and Japan.
'I don't care about what happens in the other game,' Osim snapped. 'It will be hot. Vietnam are the home team. We will try to win. But we could lose. It's not rocket science!'
A Vietnam victory would be arguably the biggest shock in Asian Cup history and even Osim's opposite number Alfred Riedl has virtually written off his team's chances.
But Osim, who blasted his team as 'amateurs' in a furious outburst following their opening 1-1 draw with Qatar, was in no mood for counting chickens.
'It's an historic game for Vietnam,' said the 66-year-old. 'Football can be a strange game and I'm not going to give them any more motivation by saying we will win.'
Things too another odd twist when he answered a routine inquiry about whether all his players were fit by calling out: 'Is there a doctor in the house? That's not my job!'
Osim ended with another riddle while Japanese Football Association (JFA) officials shifted nervously from side to side.
'I would be upset if nobody asked me what I would do if we lose tomorrow,' he said. When one brave soul took the bait and asked the question, Osim sighed: 'Don't ask me! Ask the JFA!'