Jurgen Klinsmann: South Korea Sacks German after only 12 Months in Post

Jurgen Klinsmann has been dismissed from his position as head coach of South Korea after a brief 12-month tenure, which came to an end following the team’s loss in the Asian Cup semi-finals.

The German, 59, was appointed in February last year and had a contract until the end of the 2026 World Cup.

South Korea suffered a disappointing defeat to Jordan in the Asian Cup on 6 February, extending the country’s long-standing quest for the title by another 64 years.

The Korea Football Association (KFA) expressed their dissatisfaction with Klinsmann’s leadership and emphasised the need for a change.

Following their semi-final exit in Qatar, there was a strong outcry from fans, politicians, and the Korean media, demanding Klinsmann’s dismissal. Additionally, reports surfaced of internal conflicts among the team’s key players during the tournament.

Reports have emerged that South Korea captain Son Heung-min sustained a finger injury following a disagreement with his team-mates during a team dinner prior to their unexpected defeat against Jordan.

“Coach Klinsmann did not meet the expectations we had for the national team coach in terms of leadership, including game management, player management, and work attitude, all of which are crucial for enhancing the competitiveness of the national team,” stated KFA President Chung Mong-gyu.

After the defeat against Jordan, who are ranked significantly lower than South Korea at 87th in the world, Klinsmann made it clear that he has no intention of stepping down.

On Thursday, the National Team Committee, an advisory body of the KFA, recommended the dismissal of the former Tottenham and Bayern Munich forward. He had previously achieved the remarkable feat of winning the World Cup as a player with West Germany in 1990.

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“It has been agreed upon that Klinsmann is unable to effectively lead as the national team head coach due to multiple reasons, and therefore a change in leadership is required,” stated KFA technical director Hwangbo Kwan.

Klinsmann’s decision to stay in California instead of spending time in South Korea has made him an unpopular figure among fans since taking over.

During his initial half-year in the position, Klinsmann’s presence in the country was limited to a mere 67 days, as reported by a Seoul newspaper. This stands in contrast to previous foreign coaches who had all resided in the capital city.

He achieved success by guiding Germany to a third-place finish in the 2006 World Cup and leading the United States to the knockout stages of the 2014 tournament. However, before his current position with South Korea, he had a brief tenure at Bundesliga side Hertha BSC four years ago.

South Korea’s highly talented team, featuring Son, Wolves striker Hwang Hee-chan, and Paris St-Germain’s Lee Kang-in, entered the Asian Cup as strong contenders. However, they were unable to display the level of creativity expected throughout the tournament.

They managed to secure a victory in just one match during regular play. In the second round, they came dangerously close to being eliminated, but a last-minute equaliser in the 99th minute against Saudi Arabia saved them. They ultimately triumphed in a penalty shootout.

In the quarter-final, they equalised against Australia in the 96th minute before Tottenham’s Son scored an impressive extra-time free-kick to secure their place in the last four.

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Surprisingly, they failed to register a single shot on target in the semi-final and were outclassed by underdogs Jordan, who were ultimately defeated in the final by hosts Qatar.

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