Jurgen Klinsmann, who leads the Korean national soccer team, emphasized that everyone must come together in a positive atmosphere to win the 2023 AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Asian Cup in Qatar, which will be held in January 2024.
Coach Klinsmann returned from England through Incheon International Airport Terminal 2 on the 14th with members of the Korean national team. Klinsmann returned from England during the international break in September after playing a two-game series between Wales and Saudi Arabia.온라인바카라
Initially, the Korean national team, along with Saudi Arabia, was planning to play a friendly match against Mexico, a powerhouse in the Confederation of North, Central, American and Caribbean Football (CONCACAF), in September. However, Mexico changed its mind considering the broadcast in its country, and Korea and Saudi Arabia decided to play against each other instead of Mexico. did.
On the 8th, Klinsmann played his first A match with Wales in Cardiff City, England, and drew 0-0. Then, on the 13th, the team moved to St. James Park in Newcastle, northeastern England, and clashed with Saudi Arabia in the Middle East. Striker Cho Kyu-sung’s winning goal was well taken to win 1-0, and the team earned their first win after 3 draws and 2 losses since Klinsmann took office as head coach.
Although Klinsmann won his debut after going through many hardships, he was immediately embroiled in controversy. This is because skipper Klinsmann did not come to Korea with the Taegeuk Warriors and decided to remain in Europe to watch the German Bundesliga match between Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen to be held at 3:45 a.m. on the 16th.
KFA also announced that Klinsmann was planning to watch Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga game in person this week, visit a European club, and have a meeting with officials. Klinsmann’s intention was to conduct an on-site analysis with the coaching staff staying in Europe ahead of the international match in October and then return to Korea.
He cited the reason as a check on the European team, but Korean fans were not at all convinced. Fans are unable to hide their bewilderment at the decision to observe again the national team’s regular defender, whom he used as a starter in two international matches just a few days ago.
Kim Min-jae’s role in Bayern Munich was not different from that of the national team, nor was he relegated to a bench member, and he had established a solid position right after his transfer, so soccer fans strongly opposed him, asking what further checks were needed.
The reaction shown by the fans did not happen suddenly, but rather the anger that had been building up until now exploded. Klinsmann, who has been leading the Taegeuk Warriors since February, sparked controversy over ‘working from home’ by living overseas, such as in the United States, longer than in Korea. British public broadcaster BBC also pointed out, “It is estimated that Klinsmann stayed in Korea for only 67 days during the past six months since he was appointed to the Korean national team.”
Observing the K-League was entrusted to advisor Cha Du-ri and coach Michael Kim, while Klinsmann performed national team duties in Europe and the United States. During this period, he worked in the United States and appeared as a panelist on the soccer program of global sports media ESPN and Spain’s leading newspaper AS, analyzing and evaluating Premier League teams including Tottenham and evaluating the trends of Harry Kane and Lionel Messi. He was criticized for showing actions that are difficult to consider as a coach of the Korean national team that reached the round of 16 of the World Cup, such as predicting a win or draw or loss in some games.
In addition, ahead of the September international match, he attended the 2023/24 UEFA (European Football Confederation) Champions League final group draw event held in Monaco, France on the 1st, and before that, he visited AS Monaco in French Ligue 1, his former team during his active career, and gave an interview. He showed actions such as eggplant that are difficult to believe as the coach of the national team.
Klinsmann even caused controversy during his international break. On the 10th, between the Wales game and the Saudi Arabian game, a ‘Legends Match’ was held between Chelsea Legends and Bayern Munich Legends at Stamford Bridge in London, England. At this time, Klinsmann was invited as a Munich Legend and said he would play in the match.
It is unprecedented and a shocking incident that defies common sense for the national team coach to leave camp immediately after showing a poor performance against Wales and play a legendary match for the club he played for during the international match period. This is especially difficult to do in situations where public opinion is not favorable.
As controversy intensified as Klinsmann was included in the rosters of both teams released by the host Chelsea on the 7th, the Korea Football Association emphasized on the 8th that Klinsmann’s participation was not true. However, Klinsmann’s personal thoughts were different and he wondered what was the problem with participating in a legend match during a break during his stay in England. In the end, Klinsmann’s name was omitted from the Munich roster that was finally released at 1:40 a.m. on the 10th, confirming his absence from the legendary match. However, criticism is pouring in regarding this confirmation of non-participation, calling it ‘a complete disaster’. This means that although the worst situation has been avoided, the trust of the public and soccer fans has already been lost.
Did you sense this atmosphere? Klinsmann suddenly completely revised his plan.
KFA explained, “We decided to change the schedule at today’s coaching staff meeting to begin the process of checking K-League players before announcing the October list.” As a result, Klinsmann returned to Korea for the first time in about a month since last August and stood in front of Korean fans and reporters.
The national team, which returned home with Klinsmann after the Saudi game, will play its first game on October 13 against Tunisia, a North African powerhouse that beat France in the group stage of the Qatar World Cup finals, and will face Vietnam on the 17th. Kickoff time for both games is 8pm. The venue is Seoul World Cup Stadium for the Tunisia match and Suwon World Cup Stadium for the Vietnam match.
After the October international match, the 2026 World Cup Asia second round qualifiers will be held jointly by three countries, including the United States, Canada, and Mexico. First, on November 16th, the first match of Group C of the second qualifying round will be played at home, but the opponent has not yet been decided. It will be played against the winner of Guam and Singapore, which will be played home and away on October 12th and 17th. Singapore is ranked 158th and Guam 204th in the FIFA rankings, so Singapore’s power is objectively evaluated to be superior. Then, on November 21st, they will travel to China in the second match of Group C.
- How do you feel about stepping foot on Korean soil for the first time in a month since early August?
I am very happy to come (to Korea). I think it would have been better to see you all in England. Every time I convened, I felt good and found quite a few positive elements. We convened in March, June, and September, and I felt a lot of how much we had developed internally and how we were progressing toward the Asian Cup. I am growing and improving while playing in Cardiff and Newcastle, and I shared my thoughts and discussions with the coaching staff about how to prepare for the next call.
-I changed my schedule and came to Korea. What prompted the change in schedule?
I came because I heard that many people were waiting for me. Apart from this, I heard a lot from the (Korea Football) Association, and when I heard that usually when the players return home after an overseas trip, the coach also returns home, I thought again. I was planning to watch the match between Bayern Munich and Leverkusen this week, but I thought it would be better to travel with the team rather than changing the schedule too much.
I think I’ll also be able to meet you all at the K-League venue this weekend. When I worked in Germany or the United States, when I went abroad, many people rarely welcomed me, so there are some new aspects. It was a new experience to be welcomed by so many people after a friendly match, so we decided to change the schedule.
-What is the next schedule? Are you planning to go abroad again?
I have a schedule that keeps coming and going. There are matches to watch overseas, but there is not much time left until the international matches in October, so after the matches in England, I have to prepare and analyze the next opponent with the coaching staff. As everyone knows, there are only two friendly matches left. After the friendly match in October, we will immediately enter the World Cup qualifiers and begin actual matches, so I am constantly thinking about how to prepare, form players, and form a team. After October, we will go on to the (2026 North, Central America) World Cup preliminaries and the Asian Cup, and I think we need to show good performance with you all.
In fact, this call-up received a great boost from the addition of Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur) and Kim Min-jae (Bayern Munich). I also received a lot of help from the team. It is important that the two players stay healthy together, but once again, time is running out. I think we need to continuously and internally analyze our A-match opponents and prepare for the upcoming opponents.
-Public opinion (toward Klinsmann) is quite unfavorable. Have you heard this story? If you’ve heard it, I’d like to ask what you think.
First of all, there is a very positive and developing team atmosphere. I worked with players who participated in the World Cup in March, and there were a lot of changes in June and September. In June, key players were missing, so we were put to the test as we hired new players, and as the team changed, new players joined each time we were called up, and we had to figure out how to harmonize, build and develop players on the way to the Qatar Asian Cup. I’m wondering if I should grow up.
Also, it is positive because every time the players convene, they understand more what our coaching staff wants and what we want to manage. There is not much time until the Asian Cup, but our ‘benchmark’ is the Asian Cup. I am confident that we will achieve good results in the Asian Cup and have high expectations, but I think the key will be how we prepare until then and analyze the opponent’s key players. Meanwhile, it is going through a process of positive growth.
When building a team at the association level, there are bound to be many changes when a big competition ends and preparations for the next competition occur. It would be nice to satisfy everyone, but I think we can only be evaluated if we show results in big competitions. It is important how we grow as a team and how we finish the big competition and prepare for the next competition through this process. It is especially important because the actual competition starts in November. Although there may be parts of the A-match that we have not been satisfied with before, we will prepare well by recruiting the best players for the Asian Cup and achieving good results with the best team.
-Ever since I took office, I have emphasized the Asian Cup. Ultimately, what fans want, regardless of whether they live in Korea or abroad, are results, so can we say that their future depends on the results of the Asian Cup?
Again, the Asian Cup is the ‘benchmark’. The coaching staff and players are also preparing with the Asian Cup as a ‘benchmark’, and of course, if the results are not good, fans and media will ask questions and criticize, and it can only be a test. This is the director’s destiny. However, I have a lot of experience in tournaments, including the World Cup, as a player and as a coach, and I have enjoyed tournaments. So, I have experience in how to prepare and organize a team for a tournament, so I am thinking of forming a good team in good enough shape.
The most important thing is for the players to reach the Asian Cup in good health. Like Son Heung-min and Kim Min-jae, Hwang Hee-chan (Wolverhampton Wanderers) is not in 100% condition due to a hamstring injury, and Lee Kang-in (PSG) is also currently out due to injury. If these players are healthy and well-prepared and can go to Qatar with the best team, I think they will be able to achieve good results.
After a big competition, I think we need to receive a lot of positive public opinion and strength when preparing for the next competition. Only then can you succeed. No matter how strongly we unite internally and send positive messages, if external factors or many people continue to create negative public opinion, the team will inevitably be shaken. The reason I say this is because the German national team at the 2022 Qatar World Cup seems to be a very good example. Everything was negative for Germany even before going to the World Cup, and they ended up being eliminated in the group stage and suffered the humiliation of going home.
Players must receive positive public opinion, atmosphere, and energy. In particular, the national team is the people’s team and represents the country, so creating a positive atmosphere together is of great help. I think that when you don’t get good grades or don’t get the results you want, you should criticize, criticize, and be criticized. What I want to say is that I think we can achieve good results if everyone creates a positive atmosphere before going to Qatar.
-There are rumors that the German national soccer team is showing interest. What will you do if a real offer comes?
For now, I will focus on bringing home the Asian Cup trophy. I hope to be at the Asian Cup with all of you.
-During the match against Wales, I requested a uniform from Aaron Ramsey (Cardiff City). Did you bring your uniform well?
In fact, he received it at the request of the physical therapist of the team where his son (Jonathan Klinsmann, LA Galaxy) is located. I had no idea it would become such a big issue, but the sad part is that after this story was told, my son received negative comments and criticism on social media. He spent 40 years of his football career and received many jerseys along the way.