The Korean national soccer team was eliminated in the semifinals of the 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Qatar Asian Cup, but coach Jurgen Klinsmann has not reflected on himself. Contrary to his remarks that the tournament was a success, he shook hands whenever he faced difficulties, which led to his failure to achieve the championship.꽁머니환전
After returning to Korea through Incheon International Airport on the 8th, Klinsmann looked back at the tournament and used the word “success” in an interview. “It was a successful tournament that made it to the semifinals,” Klinsmann said. “There were a lot of positive aspects. Our team is definitely moving in the right direction.”
“Honestly, I don’t know why I’m being criticized,” he said, adding, “I would have been happy when I beat Saudi Arabia and Australia.”
Contrary to self-appreciation that the tournament was successful, Klinsmann made a disappointing choice whenever the game became difficult.
Coach Klinsmann did not do what he was supposed to do from the first match against Bahrain. When Park Yong-woo received the first warning in the 9th minute of the first half, coach Klinsmann and the coaching staff should have instructed the players to refrain from scuffling. It is well known that Chinese referee Manning tends to overuse warnings. If the coaching staff had called the players’ attention, the warnings from Kim Min-jae and Lee Ki-je could have been prevented.
In the end, Korea had to suffer from yellow troubles throughout the tournament, with Cho Kyu-sung and Son Heung-min receiving additional warnings. Finally, Kim Min-jae, the core of the defense, failed to play in the semi-finals against Jordan due to accumulated warnings from Australia in the quarter-final against Bahrain, and Korea suffered a crushing defeat in the match against Jordan.
The third match of the group stage was also a loser against Malaysia. Coach Klinsmann failed to win the match despite all his might in the group stage, failing to secure both practical benefits and justification.
Against Malaysia, the weakest player in the group and the one who was eliminated, Klinsmann started all of the 11 best players. This meant that he would win by a wide margin and advance to the round of 16 teams as No. 1 in the group, and meet Japan, which is No. 2 in Group D.
If Korea becomes the second place in the group, it would have to play the quarterfinal match without taking two days off even if it wins the round of 16. In a major competition where many games are held in a short period of time, managing physical stamina is a must, not an option. As a result, Korea, which tied with Malaysia 3-3 to rank second in the group, will be able to handle schedule that requires a lot of physical burden.
Rather, if candidates who did not play in the first and second games were put into the match against Malaysia without giving up the top spot in the group, they could at least preserve the physical strength of key players such as Son Heung-min, Lee Kang-in, and Kim Min-jae, but manager Klinsmann did not choose this method.
Klinsmann’s dependence on starting membership sets him apart from Hussein Amota, who led the Jordanian team. At the third match of the group league that he secured advance to the round of 16, Amota excluded five starting members including the ace, Altamari. Having accumulated physical strength, Altamari displayed robust performance by scoring one goal and one assist in the match against Korea in the semifinal. On the other hand, Korean players’ movements slowed down due to lack of physical strength and had to kneel down after failing to mount a counterattack in the second half of the semifinal.
There is also something to be desired about the selection list made by coach Klinsmann during the semifinal match against Jordan, where South Korea’s advance to the finals was thwarted.
Park Yong-woo, who provided an excuse for the first run due to a critical pass mistake in the semifinals, scored his own goal in the first match against Jordan in the second group match. If Park Jin-seop, who played well in the quarterfinals against Australia, had been selected as the starter instead of Park Yong-woo, who was psychologically hurt by his own goal, he could have produced better results in the midfield battle.
In addition, if players who had exhausted their physical strength due to two consecutive extended matches were not included in the semifinals, and proven players such as Oh Hyun-kyu and Kim Jin-soo were boldly selected as starters, there was room for them to be far behind in their activities.
Above all, the first thing to be criticized is that Klinsmann reversed what he had said. He repeated several times that he would definitely win the championship before the opening of the tournament as well as during the tournament.
When asked if he could extend his stay until the finals at a training session to prepare for the round of 16, he even bragged with a smile, saying, “Hurry up and do it.” “What’s important is confidence. We came here to win a championship, and we believe in ourselves. Let’s go together until the end.”
Although it is obvious that he failed to achieve his goal because he failed to win in various circumstances, coach Klinsmann fell into a self-contradiction in an interview with him on his return, saying that advancing to the semifinals is a success.
As Coach Klinsmann reveals problems not only in team management, but also in strategy, tactics, and words and actions, public opinion is raging. In the meantime, the Korea Football Association will hold a power reinforcement committee after the Lunar New Year holiday to evaluate the results of the Asian Cup, but it is unlikely that Coach Klinsmann will be replaced.
Michael Müller, the German-born chairman of the Korea Power Reinforcement Committee, had an influence on recruitment of Klinsmann from the same country. When asked about Klinsmann’s background in February last year, he consistently gave dubious answers, which raised concerns. Chung Mong-gyu, the president of the Korea Football Association who directly recruited Klinsmann, is also not free from responsibility.
If Klinsmann remains in office after the Power Enhancement Committee, the Korea Football Association will be able to persuade angry soccer fans only when it clearly reveals the reason.
Still, Klinsmann deserves high praise for his ability to predict his future. After an away exhibition match in Europe in September last year, he made remarks as if he had foreseen his situation after the Asian Cup.