No time to draw Asian Cup… Saudi Arabia vs. Clean sheet turns into ‘guillotine match’
A simple trial is turning into a “guillotine match” that could leave a coach pondering his future.
That’s what Klinsmann is referring to as he prepares for a friendly against Saudi Arabia in the Middle East. The South Korean national soccer team, led by Jürgen Klinsmann, will play its second September A match against Saudi Arabia at St. James’ Park in Newcastle, England, on Sept. 13 at 1:30 a.m. (KST).
The team is currently camped and training at Brentford’s training center in London. On Sept. 11, the team will fly to Newcastle on a chartered flight provided by opponents Saudi Arabia to make final preparations for the match.
It’s Klinsmann’s highly anticipated first trip to Europe since taking over as head coach, but there is a cynicism surrounding the squad. Klinsmann’s side played their first September A match against Wales at the Cardiff City Stadium in Cardiff, England, on Sept. 8, but were held to a narrow 0-0 draw in a nervy affair that saw the opposition hit the post. It was Klinsmann’s first clean sheet since his arrival, but he was also embarrassed by an equally anemic offense that failed to produce a goal.
Although the team retained Premier League top scorer Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur), Hwang Hee-chan (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Hwang Eui-jo (Norwich City), and Cho Kyu-sung (Mitwillan) from the round of 16 at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the Taegeuk Warriors’ trademark offense that took the initiative at the World Cup was nowhere to be seen under the new coach.
Even with Wales (35th) fielding a 1.5-man squad that was lower than Korea’s (28th) in the FIFA rankings, Klinsmann’s men were outshot 4-10 and went 1-4 in shots on target. This is where the phrase “thank goodness for the goal” comes in.
In particular, Klinsmann’s buildup was poor, as the Welsh struggled with the thick defense and forward pressure. The overlapping of the left and right fullbacks and the lack of killer passes from the central midfield led to a fundamental question: what is soccer for?
Klinsmann alone said: “It was a very difficult game. Both teams struggled to execute their game plan and didn’t create many chances. But it was an evenly matched game,” he said in a positive tone, but not many are taking it at face value.
The team has now gone five games without a win.
Klinsmann, who took over in March, had a pleasant 45 minutes in his first game against Colombia, blasting two goals in the first half after setting up Son Heung-min with a free-flowing ball into the attacking third. But those were the only pleasant moments, and since then, he has been criticized for a tactical style of play that at least makes it hard to tell what kind of football he’s playing, a mercenary approach to player identification, and a lack of results.
His work ethic, as if the job was just one of many freelance gigs, was the final straw that turned fans and soccer officials against him early on.
Klinsmann has continued to work for ESPN in the United States despite multiple media outlets calling him out. His promise to live in Korea has been fulfilled, and he now works from home in Los Angeles, California, where he has family. Now, you’re more likely to hear the names of Lionel Messi (Inter Miami) and Harry Kane (Bayern Munich) than K League players. He even predicts Premier League wins, draws, and losses. “If you’re doing YouTube at work, you’re either going to have to get permission from your employer or there’s going to be a lot of restrictions, so it’s almost like he’s freelancing,” he says.
Even in the UK, Klinsmann’s behavior hasn’t been clean. As if focusing on the game wasn’t enough, he had to back out of the Chelsea-Bayern Munich Legends Match at the last minute. After the game against Wales, he grabbed the jersey of Welsh star Aaron Ramsey (Cardiff City) in order to get a gift for his son. He was criticized for prioritizing his son’s gift over the South Korean team’s victory.
Klinsmann set a new record for the most draws by a foreign manager on his debut in June when he drew 1-1 with El Salvador, who were thrashed 0-6 by Japan in their fourth A-match, after conceding a late set-piece. A draw against Wales followed, breaking the record for most debut draws since the introduction of the full-time manager system in 1992.
This has led to questions about his suitability to take charge at next year’s Asian Cup.
The question marks are compounded by Klinsmann’s history. He was at the center of the U.S. national team’s disastrous exit from the CONCACAF region at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the first time the U.S. has failed to qualify for a World Cup in 28 years.
Then, when he was faced with a crisis at German club Hertha Berlin due to poor performance despite massive support, he did the unthinkable by abruptly resigning in a live social media broadcast. It’s been nearly a decade since he’s been a successful soccer manager, and he seems to be repeating his behavior with the South Korean national team. He was in charge of the national team at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, but his remote coaching from his home in the United States has long since become a source of ridicule in Germany.
Fierce rival Japan’s big win over Germany is also adding to the pressure on Klinsmann’s job. Japan drew 1-1 with South Korea in their March A matches against Uruguay and Colombia, but stunned the world with a 6-0 and 4-1 victory over El Salvador and Peru in June, respectively, and a 4-1 thrashing of Germany in an away trial on Oct. 10.
Japan also came from behind to beat Germany 2-1 in their first group game at the World Cup in Qatar, but it was a different performance. Unlike their World Cup strategy of playing from the back, this time they played a more solid game, incorporating their unique style of passing soccer, which is a stark comparison to South Korea. 토토사이트
It’s always debatable what to make of a coach whose results in friendlies are mixed. However, the team’s degeneration in the last five games and his lack of preparation make Klinsmann’s Asian Cup-winning rhetoric sound as hollow as a shepherd boy’s scream.
Under Klinsmann, the national team, which should be the most honorable and respected, has become a symbol of ridicule and outward appearances. You can’t expect a winning mentality from a winless coach. What was supposed to be an opportunity for Asia’s top teams to pit their wits against each other and explore the strengths and weaknesses of their respective national teams has become a guillotine match of Klinsmann’s own making.