Despite the controversy, coach Jürgen Klinsmann was unapologetic. He insisted that he was doing everything for the good of Korean soccer. So far, however, the team is winless in five games. If they don’t win again, they’ll have to face the music.
The South Korean national team will face Saudi Arabia in an exhibition match at St. James’ Park in Newcastle, England, at dawn on the 13th. The team has been playing home games in South Korea, but in September, they traveled to Europe for two matches. They drew 0-0 with Wales in the first of those matches.
The Korea Football Association appointed Klinsmann after the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Klinsmann, who was criticized for his lack of tactical skills during his time with the German national team, was replaced by Andreas Hierzog, who had done quite well with the US national team.
But things got off to a rocky start. It wasn’t like when Paulo Bento was appointed, where he handed over the baton after thinking about what kind of soccer to play and what kind of process to use to prepare for the next four years. The appointment process was fraught with question marks, and Michael Muller, who took over as chairman of the Power Enhancement Committee in a hurry, was consistent with alumni answers.
Despite the question marks, Klinsmann’s eloquent interview put the public opinion to rest. In March, he showed off his “central hand” against South American powerhouses Uruguay and Colombia. However, in June, the team’s colorless performance against Peru and El Salvador created a chaotic atmosphere.
Without a win in June, Klinsmann held a press conference to address the media. We expected to hear a roadmap to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup in January and the 2026 World Cup in North and Central America, but instead, he introduced the coaching staff and listed his impressions of the Korean national team so far. When asked what colors he would bring to the team, he was noncommittal, saying, “We’ll have to wait and see.”
It makes sense. Revealing all of your future ideas and plans in public can be a bit of a poison pill. We’re not even into the World Cup qualifying phase yet, and the honeymoon effect is still fresh.
However, his recent behavior raises questions about his authenticity as the head coach of the Korean national team. While he seemed to be staying in Korea to organize and think about the team, like other foreign coaches, he has been flying to the United States to spend time.
Recently, he spent quite a bit of time on a panel for global sports media outlet ESPN. While he mentioned Son Heung-min and Kim Min-jae, he also listed overseas soccer issues such as Lionel Messi and Harry Kane. He even went as far as to predict a win, draw, or loss between Tottenham and Manchester United in the second round of the Premier League.
The same goes for the head coach. Herzog joined ESPN Austria’s commentary team for the 2023-24 season. The idea was to get a first-hand look at the European game, but it meant spending more time preparing commentary for each week’s games.
Recently, he weighed in on the controversy, but it wasn’t a straightforward answer. “The results in March and June were disappointing, but there are many positives. We have been discussing how to prepare for the Asian Cup with talented coaches, keeping up with modern football. We already have a plan for the first half of next year. We will play Wales and Saudi Arabia in September, then Vietnam and Tunisia in October. November will be busy with the second qualifier and the Asian Cup. Personally, I don’t like to lose competitions. I only think about winning. I want to win and I want to present the result.” “I’ve watched a lot of matches in Korea. I watched K League 2, U League, and FC Seoul U18 Osango matches. Coaches Cha Doo-ri and Michael Kim watch the domestic matches, and coaches Andreas Köpke and Paulo Stringara check the European matches. July and August were agreed upon before signing with the KFA, so I didn’t spend much time in Korea. After September, I’ll be in Korea for October and November, and I’m planning to train domestically before the Asian Cup. I’m constantly thinking about good results,” he said.
“Maybe it’s a stereotype, but the way I work is different. So I think there is a misunderstanding. People may question why there is no coach in Korea and think negatively. I don’t blame anyone. But I think about the bigger picture. I’m on the phone a lot with coaches Cha Doo-ri and Michael Kim. I’m also listening to the national team information for each age group. We have a lot of conversations in Europe. I’m learning about modern soccer, trends in other sports. I’m always thinking about how to incorporate it into the national team and improve it.”
“Japan is very active in Europe. They even have a Japan Football Association office in Germany. We are also thinking about this with the Korea Football Association. I’m not resting because I’m invisible. I am working. I’m also thinking about running an external staff. I’m a workaholic. Koreans are crazy about work, but I also work a lot. I’m trying to figure out how to operate to accommodate international trends. The same goes for opponent analysis,” he added.
“I recently traveled to the U.S. to watch a Team K League game in South Korea and discuss the draw for the second qualifying round with officials from the Korean Football Association,” Klinsmann said. I had a week in Dublin, Ireland. It was scheduled before I accepted the job as head coach of the Korean national team. While I was in Dublin, I watched the opening match of Tottenham Hotspur and talked to Kim Ji-Soo (Brentford),” he said.
But he wasn’t completely focused on the Korean national team. “I’m back in LA now,” Klinsmann said. I have to go to Europe early for the UEFA football board. I’m going to watch the Champions League group draw and watch the European matches. There’s a Paris Saint-Germain game in Lyon, France, so I might watch Lee Kang-in. I will discuss further internally and then join Cardiff in Wales.”
Klinsmann gave a press conference with his coaching staff after the June A match, and had previously given his opinion in a recent Zoom interview. However, there was no press conference to announce the September A match roster. Klinsmann insisted that he would explain on the training ground and on the field. The KFA agreed with Klinsmann and announced that “a press release will be issued on September 28 at 1:00 p.m. regarding the announcement of the Men’s National Team’s September away friendly roster.”
Only in recent years have roster announcement press conferences been replaced by press releases due to special circumstances. That was when the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic made it impossible to hold a face-to-face press conference. But even then, Paulo Bento used YouTube Live to interact with the media and exchange views. This time, he didn’t explain the September roster online either.
A win against Wales could have turned things around, but it wasn’t to be. Klinsmann played Son Heung-min as a freeroll and Cho Kyu-sung up front. Hong Hyun-seok and Lee Jae-sung were deployed on the flanks, but they failed to capitalize on their strengths. It was a frustrating attack with no promise and pointless forward pressure. Against Wales, who were in a bad mood, they struggled and managed to draw 0-0.
He became the first Korean coach to go five games without a win after taking charge. Klinsmann, however, used colorful rhetoric to sell the game. Wales was a World Cup team and they played well.
The subsequent interview only added to the controversy. He spoke directly about various issues, such as working from home, and claimed that he had nothing to do in Korea and would be more productive traveling around Europe. “If they don’t like my way of doing things, they can find another coach,” he said.
Klinsmann insisted that he would be able to properly evaluate everything in January 2024. Since his appointment, he has been chanting “win the Asian Cup” and after five games without a win, he hasn’t changed his mind.카지노
However, if you look at the performances in those five games, it’s not convincing at all. It’s been a steady downward spiral since the March trials, which were centered around the World Cup in Qatar. Hwang Hee-chan, Cho Kyu-sung, Kim Min-jae, and Lee Jae-sung, all of whom have been outstanding for their respective teams, including captain Son Heung-min, who scored a hat-trick in the September qualifiers, have wandered around in a lethargic tactic. If the team fails to win against Saudi Arabia, criticism and even dismissal are inevitable.