Klinsmann Faces Sack By South Korea After Asian Cup Semi-Final Exit

Jurgen Klinsmann appears to be fired as coach after top South Korean football officials announced Thursday that “a change of leadership is necessary” following their Asian Cup loss and star player infighting.

The Korea Football Association’s national team committee convened a week after the 2-0 defeat to Jordan in the semi-finals, with Klinsmann under intense pressure.

The committee is not a decision-making body, but will offer recommendations to the KFA’s executive board, which will make the final decision on the 59-year-old German’s destiny.

A small group of demonstrators gathered outside KFA offices in Seoul, demanding Klinsmann’s departure after less than a year in office.

“We’ve reached a consensus that Klinsmann cannot exercise his leadership as national team head coach for various reasons and that a change of leadership is necessary,” Hwangbo Kwan, the chairman of the group, stated.

Following a three-hour discussion, Hwangbo stated that the committee concluded Klinsmann’s “tactical preparation fell short” during the team’s poor Asian Cup campaign in Qatar.

He went on to say, “Klinsmann said there was discord among squad members and it affected their performance (in the Jordan match).”

According to Yonhap, Klinsmann attended the meeting via video conference from his residence in the United States.

“There were opinions that Klinsmann failed to show his resolve to find new talent and that he failed to grasp internal conflict or mood among squad members in management,” Hwangbo, the coach, stated.

“There were also reviews that he is appearing to ignore the Korean public for his short stays in South Korea and that he had lost trust from them,” he went on to say.

Yonhap earlier reported, citing anonymous sources, that if Klinsmann is fired, the KFA will consider making a temporary appointment for next month’s World Cup qualifiers against Thailand.

Klinsmann, who has never won over South Korean fans or the media, had pledged to bring the country its first Asian crown in 64 years.

Despite intense pressure, he has refused to quit and has stated that he will continue to live in the United States, despite calls from South Korean fans and media to relocate there.


The South Korean team has been in the center of a maelstrom.

On Wednesday, details emerged regarding a player altercation that left Son Heung-min with a wounded finger on the eve of Jordan’s game in Qatar.

Paris Saint-Germain’s Lee Kang-in apologized on Wednesday after Yonhap reported that the 22-year-old attempted to punch skipper and Tottenham star Son.

Lee’s reps have disputed that there was a punch.

The fight was allegedly started by younger players, including Lee, hurrying through their dinner so they could leave early and play table tennis.

This enraged several of the older players, including Son, who wanted to honor the long-standing custom of the pre-game dinner as a team bonding experience, resulting in the incident.

Lee and Son both participated in Jordan’s defeat, with the latter having two of his fingers bound together.

He had the same dressing on his fingers when he came on as a substitute in Tottenham’s 2-1 victory over Brighton last Saturday.

The event has fueled calls for Klinsmann to be fired, with some claiming it is additional evidence of his poor management.

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