Football officials recommend firing Klinsmann as Korea head coach

Hwangbo Kwan, the technical director of the Korea Football Association, speaks to reporters following the National Team Committee’s meeting at the KFA House in Seoul, Thursday. The committee members decided to recommend the KFA’s executive board to dismiss Jurgen Klinsmann as head coach of the men’s national team after Korea made a disappointing semifinal exit at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup in Qatar last week. Yonhap

Korean football officials on Thursday recommended the dismissal of Jurgen Klinsmann as head coach of the men’s national team on Thursday after the country’s disappointing semifinal exit at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup. The National Team Committee of the Korea Football Association (KFA) reached its decision during its postmortem meeting at the KFA House in Seoul, putting the ball in the court of their besieged leader to make the final call. Klinsmann attended the meeting on a video conference from his U.S. home. After three-plus hours of meeting, Hwangbo Kwan, the KFA’s technical director, told reporters the committee members had agreed to call for Klinsmann’s firing. “For a number of reasons, we concluded that Klinsmann would no longer be able to show his leadership as head coach of the national team,” Hwangbo said. “We will report our conclusion to the KFA.”

Korea lost to Jordan 2-0 in the semifinals of the top AFC tournament in Qatar last week, unable to end the country’s 64-year title drought. Klinsmann has been under growing pressure to resign for failing to guide a talented Korean squad — featuring Tottenham Hotspur captain Son Heung-min, among others — to the long-coveted AFC championship. Since the National Team Committee is not a decision-making body, it can only make recommendations to the KFA’s Executive Board, which will have the final say .KFA President Chung Mong-gyu, who has also been hearing calls to quit for hiring Klinsmann in the first place, will be the person in charge of that fateful decision on the beleaguered coach. Several protesters braved rainy and windy conditions earlier in the day to set up camp outside the KFA headquarters and call on both Klinsmann and Chung to resign. Hwangbo said the decision to recommend Klinsmann’s dismissal was not unanimous. Some members said the KFA should keep Klinsmann aboard for now with World Cup qualifying matches coming up in March.

Klinsmann was appointed Korea’s head coach in February last year. He coached his first match in March, a 2-2 draw against Colombia, and the team went winless in Klinsmann’s first five games before finishing the 2023 season on a five-match winning streak .Korea then beat Iraq 1-0 on Jan. 6 in their final tuneup before the Asian Cup. In the first group match of the tournament, Korea, world No. 23, beat 86th-ranked Bahrain 3-1.It ended up being the team’s only victory in 90 minutes .They were held to a 2-2 draw by 87th-ranked Jordan in the next match, salvaging a point thanks to a late own goal by their opponent. Then Korea settled for a 3-3 draw against No. 130 Malaysia after giving up a stoppage-time equalizer to the massive underdog .In the round of 16, Korea beat Saudi Arabia 4-2 on penalties, after Cho Gue-sung’s 99th-minute header rescue them from the brink of defeat. Korea staged another late rally to knock off Australia 2-1, with Hwang Hee-chan 슬롯게이밍 converting a 96th-minute penalty and Son netting a free kick goal 14 minutes into extra time.

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