I would say it’s a process now.”
Jürgen Klinsmann, coach of the Korean men’s national soccer team, emphasized that this is a ‘process’ in preparation for the 2026 North and Central America World Cup qualifiers starting in November and the Qatar Asian Cup early next year. However, the ‘time of patience’ may not be long. If the lethargic trend cannot be broken in the next game, criticism will inevitably lead to strong calls for dismissal.
Korean soccer, ranked 28th in the FIFA rankings, will play a friendly match with Saudi Arabia (54th) at St. James Park in Newcastle, England, at 1:30 a.m. on the 13th. This is a game that may decide Coach Klinsmann’s fate.
Currently, Coach Klinsmann is literally a man in crisis. Since taking charge of the Korean national team last February, he has not achieved a win in five games. On the 8th, they drew 0-0 in an evaluation match against Wales (35th), bringing their overall record to 3 draws and 2 losses. Since 1992, when the National Team A was run under a full-time coach system, Coach Klinsmann is the first coach who has not achieved a win in five games since taking office. The prevailing opinion is that it is disappointing not only in terms of results, but also in terms of performance and tactical management.
Not only is his national team performance not good, but he is also being criticized for engaging in many outside activities such as appearing on broadcasts while not living in Korea. As an extension, it is pointed out that the problems raised in player selection and appointment are ultimately the result of a lack of understanding of players.
Given the current public opinion atmosphere, if there is a draw or loss against Saudi Arabia, voices calling for a replacement of the coach will inevitably grow louder. German soccer has already begun to revamp its atmosphere by firing coach Hansi Flick to get out of the slump of 1 win, 1 draw, and 4 losses this year. Coach Flick, who was re-trusted despite being eliminated from the group stage of the Qatar World Cup last year, was suddenly dismissed ahead of the important match against France on the 13th after losing 1-4 in the recent international match against Japan.
Coach Klinsmann also needs a win against Saudi Arabia to calm the turmoil of public opinion. Although they have a ranking advantage over Saudi Arabia, they are not an easy opponent. Saudi Arabia, once a powerhouse in Asian soccer, leads Korea with 6 wins, 7 draws, and 4 losses. The most recent match, a friendly match in December 2018, resulted in a 0-0 draw. Saudi Arabia, which defeated the winner Argentina 2-1 in the group stage at the Qatar World Cup, is preparing to take a leap forward and recently appointed Roberto Mancini, the master coach who led Italy to victory in the 2020 European Championship, as the new national team head coach. In the match against Costa Rica (46th) on the 9th, played under coach Mancini, they lost 1-3.
Coach Klinsmann’s evaluation,온라인바카라 who has emphasized ‘offensive soccer’, is expected to depend on the scoring ability shown in the game against Saudi Arabia. In the previous match against Wales, the team only managed 4 shots (10 for Wales) in a frustrating situation with no effective tactics or player movements to attack the opponent’s defensive line. Son Heung-min (Tottenham), who joined the national team after scoring his first hat trick of the season, and Cho Gyu-sung (Midtjylland), who recovered from injury, were the top two, with Lee Jae-seong (Mainz) and Hong Hyun-seok (Gent) on the left and right wings, but the impact was not large. In the second half, the offensive line was changed with Lee Sun-min (Gwangju), Hwang Hee-chan (Wolverhampton), Hwang Ui-jo (Norwich), Yang Hyun-jun (Celtic), and Lee Dong-kyung (Ulsan) excluding Son Heung-min, but they failed to produce a decisive scene.
Coach Klinsmann’s leadership and tactics were evaluated as ‘colorless and odorless’ in his last five games. In the Saudi match, he must show clear offensive tactics. Attention is focused on whether Coach Klinsmann, who will be put to the test in his 6th game, can overcome his biggest challenge and regain the faith of soccer fans.