Thursday, 22nd February 2024

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I laughed again in Seoul.

British “The Athletic” reporter Tim Spears criticized South Korea’s national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann on the 12th (Korea Standard Time) under the title “Jurgen Klinsmann and Korea’s terrible Asian Cup.”

The South Korean national soccer team, led by coach Jurgen Klinsmann, returned home through Incheon International Airport at 9 p.m. on the 8th. “Klinsman” was eliminated after losing 0-2 in the semifinals of the 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Qatar Asian Cup against Jordan at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Alayyan, Qatar, on the 7th.

“Many overseas players, including Tottenham Hotspur captain Son Heung-min and Paris Saint-Germain’s Lee Kang-in, returned to their teams instead of returning home on the same day, but Klinsmann’s return was a big news story in Korea. One of Korea’s major media outlets broadcast live at the airport for more than an hour before they returned home, and the camera was fixed on the gate,” he said, expressing the atmosphere on the spot.

Spears said, “The public wanted an answer from Klinsmann. The first question at the press conference was: ‘Do you want to quit?’ To which Klinsmann laughed and replied, ‘Good question!'” She added, “An anti-Clinsmann sentiment had been around long before the opening of the Asian Cup. Klinsmann’s football lacked tactical consistency and was viewed as overly dependent on stars such as Son Heung-min, Lee Kang-in, and Hwang Hee-chan.”

He added, “Klinsman does not live in Korea unlike his predecessor, Paulo Bento.”

“Klinsman was controversial once in September last year when he asked for Aaron Ramsey’s uniform for his son in a match against Wales. He had no win in five consecutive games, but fans evaluated him as not taking the 0-0 result seriously,” he said.

Spears continued, “Korea tied with Jordan, ranked 130th in FIFA’s rankings, at the Asian Cup and managed to survive in the round of 16 and the quarterfinals. With players’ resistance and resilience, it barely survived. Zombie soccer. Fans called it zombie soccer. Korea kept coming back from the dead.”

Spears said, “Afterwards, nightmares came for Klinsmann. They suffered a terrible loss to Jordan in the semifinals, and South Korea did not record any shots on goal throughout the 90-minute period. Jordan clearly understood the tactic, won a second ball, and was tenacious and passionate. Klinsmann’s South Korea looked limp, empathetic, and lifeless. They just connected a long ball to Son Heung-min, the central striker. There were also terrible defensive mistakes.”

Klinsmann laughed after the game and then laughed again in Seoul. Despite calls for his resignation and dismissal, Klinsmann wanted to continue leading the Korean team. He said, “I want to play in the 2026 North-Central America World Cup.”

He added, “Lee and Son blamed themselves for the loss in the semifinal after the match. However, the ‘smiling’ Klinsmann did not. He stressed that he will lead the Korean national team once again. The media, the public, and the players are all nervous, but the embattled Klinsmann continues to smile.”

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