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Out as South Korea national coach after criticism

Jürgen Klinsmann is no longer coach of the South Korean national soccer team. Association President Chung Mong Gyu announced this decision on Friday in Seoul. The KFA association is thus drawing the conclusions from the team’s surprising failure in the semi-finals of the Asian Cup. The 59-year-old Klinsmann only took over the position of head coach of the fourth-place team in the 2002 World Cup a year ago. His contract ran up to and including the final of the 2026 World Cup.

The former national coach thanked his players, his coaching team and the fans in South Korea on Instagram. “Thank you for all your support in getting us to the semi-finals of the Asian Cup and for the incredible journey over the past 12 months in which we did not lose 13 games in a row until the semi-finals,” he wrote.

Klinsmann did not meet the association’s expectations, Chung said of the reasons for the separation. He lacked the ability to lead the team. “We have decided to replace the head coach.” This was decided after a comprehensive analysis and the corresponding recommendation of the national team commission.

Criticized even before the Asian Cup

Klinsmann was exposed to some heavy criticism from commentators and fans in South Korea after his exit in the semi-finals of the continental championship last week. The South Koreans lost 2-0 to outsiders Jordan in the finals in Qatar after a poor performance and didn’t shoot at the opponent’s goal once. In South Korea, football fans later unfurled a large banner in front of the KFA building calling for the national coach to be fired.

Klinsmann was criticized in South Korea even before the Asian Cup. The 1990 World Cup winner didn’t win any of his first five games with South Korea. The fact that he spent more time abroad than in South Korea was also not welcomed – similar to his time as national coach.

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However, Klinsmann and the team made a flawless debut in qualifying for the 2026 World Cup. In November, just a few days after the 5-0 opening win against Singapore, a 3-0 win against China followed. Klinsmann took over the job in Asia almost three years after the resounding failure of his coaching engagement at Bundesliga club Hertha BSC. His short-term goal was to win the Asian Championship.

For Klinsmann it was the third job as national coach. The 1990 world champion looked after Germany from 2004 to 2006 and led the DFB team to third place at the home World Cup. From July 2011 to November 2016, the former professional was the USA national coach.

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