Struggling South Korea and Saudi Arabia face off in a match that could prove to be a watershed moment, especially for head coach Jürgen Klinsmann.
On Sept. 13 at 1:30 a.m. ET, South Korea and Saudi Arabia will meet in an international friendly at St. James’ Park in Newcastle, England.
South Korea is winless this year. Since Klinsmann’s arrival, they have three draws and two losses in five games. That’s six games without a win, including a loss to Brazil in the round of 16 at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar under Paulo Bento.
Klinsmann’s job is also on the line. Poor results, poor performances, and an integrity controversy. Klinsmann has been in South Korea for less than two weeks since the June A match. While he has repeatedly stated that the national team is his top priority overseas, the lack of performance and results hasn’t helped ease public opinion.
Their next opponents, Saudi Arabia, are in an even worse slump. They have lost their last five matches. Coach Hervé Renard, who caused a stir when he led Argentina to the 2022 World Cup, was fired in March and replaced in August by Roberto Mancini, who has had a stellar career in Europe.
Mancini lost his debut match against Costa Rica. Mancini’s tenure was short, and the recent influx of European stars in the Saudi professional league made it difficult for the Saudi players to maintain a sense of urgency.
On paper, this is a must-win game for Klinsmann. The Saudis haven’t even managed a draw in their last five games, and it’s hard to believe they’re fully fit or organized.
They can’t afford a sluggish performance like the one against Wales. With Mancini prioritizing defense, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Saudi Arabia could play a defensive game like Wales did. However, it’s hard to draw a direct comparison between Wales, who have a number of players who have played at least semi-regular level in the English Premier League and Championship, and Saudi Arabia, who currently have a number of players on the bench in the Saudi Professional League.
Mancini also needs more time. With less than two weeks to play his first game in charge, he hasn’t been able to fully instill the kind of football he wants to see in the Saudi national team. The lack of time also prevented him from making the best choices in the player selection process.온라인카지노
The defeat could have increased the pressure on Klinsmann. Klinsmann has vowed to win the Asian Cup from the day he took over, and to achieve that goal, his team will need to dominate the Saudis, who have not been considered favorites since the 2010s.
Klinsmann has a big game ahead of him. A comfortable win against the Saudis will give him the momentum to push his style of play all the way to the Asian Cup, but a repeat of the poor performance and result against the Saudis will leave him open to criticism.