The South Korean national soccer team, led by coach Jürgen Klinsmann, is seeking to win the 2023 Asian Cup of Asian Football Confederation AFC. At the Asian Cup, which opened on Thursday, Klinsmann, who belongs to Group E, will play in the group stages against Bahrain on Tuesday, Jordan on Tuesday, and Malaysia on Wednesday.
Coach Klinsmann, who took the helm of the South Korean national team in February last year, is also considered an important test stage. When he took the helm of the South Korean national team, Klinsmann was the first to say that he aimed to win the Asian Cup along with advancing to the World Cup finals in North and Central America. Since then, whenever questions were raised about his way of operating the national team or his leadership, he has emphasized that he will be evaluated through his performance in the Asian Cup.
Since taking the helm of the Korean national team, Klinsmann has had six wins, three draws and two losses. In the beginning, he had no wins three draws and two losses in five consecutive games, the longest period among a foreign coach in history, raising concerns. Outside of the game, he reversed his promise to stay in Korea and stayed abroad for longer, sparking controversy over his breach of promise and duty. In an A-match held at home, the national team coach was booed instead of cheering.
Fortunately, Klinsmann, who won his first victory in the match against Saudi Arabia 1-0 win in September last year, succeeded in reversing the atmosphere to some extent by continuing a six-game winning streak and seven consecutive no-goal streak until the warm-up match against Iraq 1-0 win on the 6th. He is currently ranked first in the second Asian qualifying round for the North-China World Cup. Of course, most of the victories were made by weak teams with large power gaps, but the team succeeded in regaining confidence with a cool victory.
However, if Korea performs poorly at the Asian Cup, the situation could turn around again anytime. Public criticism against Klinsmann has not changed at all. The situation has only subsided for a while ahead of an important Asian Cup championship.
Korean soccer has not been able to win the Asian Cup for 64 years, overshadowing the modifier that it is the strongest in Asia. This tournament is considered the right time for Korean soccer to reach the top of Asia for the first time in a long time. The national team, led by prominent European players such as Son Heung-min, Kim Min-jae, Hwang Hee-chan, Lee Kang-in, Hwang In-beom and Cho Kyu-sung, is considered the “strongest power ever.” Most of them are members who have continued their experience and continuity to reach the round of 16 at the World Cup in Qatar since the former coach Bento’s time, so their organization is flawless.
Of course, a good member does not necessarily mean that a player wins the title. Japan, a neighboring country, has more European players than Korea and is also enjoying its peak season, so it is considered the most likely candidate to compete with Korea for the title at the Asian Cup. In addition, Middle East powerhouses Iran and Oceania’s Australia also have formidable records.
In order to overcome various variables such as compatibility with the opponent team and injury of key players to achieve victory, the role of a coach is important in the end. As a coach, he has inherited the best conditions and power among foreign coaches in history. As such, high expectations and pressure for the result are also a duty that he is willing to bear.
Klinsmann’s strength is that he has more experience in such tournaments as a player and a coach than anyone else. When he was a player, he won the title at the 1990 World Cup in Italy. As a coach, he led the team to third place at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, and in 2013, he took the helm of the U.S. national team and won the gold cup in North and Central America, an international competition to compete with other continental countries such as the Asian Cup.
However, the gap has been long since he was replaced by the U.S. national team in 2016 due to poor performance, and the variable is that the Asian Cup is a major tournament for the first time in eight years. Coach Klinsmann has had no problems in team control or management before, but there were many doubts that his tactical ability was weak.
U.S. media ESPN analyzed the Korean national team’s prospects for the Asian Cup on the 9th and published an interesting article, “Is Coach Klinsmann the right person for the Korean national soccer team with Son Heung-min?” ESPN left a question mark on coach Klinsmann’s ability, although the Korean national soccer team’s history is a good candidate for the championship.
The media shed light on Klinsmann’s leadership career, mentioning that he was dismissed less than a season later when he was at Bayern Munich and that he was criticized for his tactical incompetence by his then player, Philip Rahm. Even about Klinsmann’s performance in the semifinals of the World Cup, which is his greatest achievement, he analyzed that Joachim Löw, then the head coach and later the head coach of the German national team, was a heavyweight, and it was notable that he gave a negative assessment of Klinsmann’s ability.
Interestingly, ESPN is also a media outlet where Klinsmann is currently serving as a panelist. Even after taking the helm of the Korean national team, Klinsmann continued to serve on ESPN panels, drawing criticism from Korean fans. Ironically, Klinsmann now appears to be criticized even at his mother’s office.
There are a total of five foreign coaches who took the helm of the Korean national soccer team and challenged for the Asian Cup. In 2003, manager Umbert Coelho of Portugal was sacked even before the finals due to poor performance in the preliminary round. Coach Joe Bonfrere of the Netherlands, who played in the finals afterwards, lost three games to four after a fierce battle with Iran in the quarterfinals.
In 2007, the Netherlands` late coach Pim Verbeek failed to advance to the finals after losing to Iraq in a shootout in the semifinals, but beat Japan again in a shootout in the 3.4th place. Verbeek resigned as the coach of the Korean national team after the competition.
Coach Uli Stielike of Germany took the helm in 2015 and made it to the finals. Although the team lost 1-2 to Australia and finished second in a neck-and-neck race, it achieved the best performance in the 21st century. Watchers say that Stielike’s success was attributed to his tactical support from his then head coach Shin Tae-yong current coach of the Indonesian national team. Coach Stielike had been on a roll for about a year right after the Asian Cup, causing the “God-Tielike” syndrome, but he was later replaced due to poor performance in World Cup qualifiers.
In the last 2019 tournament, head coach Paulo Bento Portugal took the helm and was eliminated early after being hit by Qatar in the quarterfinals. However, Bento has since taken power as the longest-serving coach of the Korean national team and succeeded in restoring his reputation to the round of 16 at the Qatar World Cup. In this tournament, he is also drawing attention to the possibility of meeting with South Korea in the tournament by taking the helm of the UAE national team and challenging the second Asian Cup.
Most of the previous foreign coaches had to take the Asian Cup stage not long after taking the helm of the Korean national team. Only the late coach Verbeek was long, about 10 months after taking office, and Bento-Stielike-Bonfrere both held a ceremony to announce major competitions as national team coaches through the Asian Cup in a short period of less than five months. In that sense, coach Klinsmann, who had practically a year of preparation, is lucky.
It is hard to say what kind of performance Klinsmann will make at the Asian Cup. What is certain, however, is that the outcome could have a significant impact on Klinsmann’s future and future course of action.
If he wins the championship according to the best scenario, coach Klinsmann will be able to dispel controversy over his unfaithfulness and secure a solid position until the North Korea-China-U.S. World Cup. Even if he fails to win, he will be able to secure a justification for continuing the Clinsman team if he achieves some convincing performance, such as runner-up or at least the semifinals, or if he shows good performance.
The problem is when the worst situation has become a reality, with poor performance below the quarterfinals, or performance falling far short of expectations. Even if the Korea Football Association hesitates to make an extreme decision to dismiss it immediately, public opinion seems inevitable to deteriorate uncontrollably. 토토사이트
Above all, it is almost certain that the controversy over coach Klinsmann’s biased operation of the national team and his insincere way of working will be the first to come under fire. As coach Klinsmann has already stressed several times that he has no intention of changing his style, conflicts with public opinion will be inevitable, and even if he continues to take the helm of the national team, he is more likely to be caught up in the lame duck.
Consequently, Coach Klinsmann has no choice but to be determined to take the lead in the upcoming Asian Cup. Before the opening of the Asian Cup, Coach Klinsmann expressed his confidence in winning the title, saying, “I will prepare well to win the Asian Cup with our people for the first time in 64 years. I will come back after showing good performances and performances.” Will Coach Klinsmann be smiling even after the Asian Cup.