Jürgen Klinsmann, the former national coach, experienced an unexpected failure with the South Korean team in the semi-finals of the Asian Cup. The team, which had earned a spot in the World Cup round of 16, was defeated 0-2 (0-0) in the finals held in Qatar on Tuesday by the dark horse team, Jordan. The South Korean team’s performance was disappointingly weak, and this defeat means that the team will have to continue to wait for its third title at the continental championship.
In contrast, Jordan has secured its place in the final of the Asian Cup for the first time and will be meeting either the host team, Qatar, or Iran on Saturday. These two teams will be clashing in the second semi-final on Wednesday. Reflecting on the tournament, Klinsmann said, “The coach is always responsible for how a team performs in a tournament. Our aim was to reach the final, but we failed to do so. We didn’t make the most of our opportunities.” Klinsmann criticized the fact that Jordan had won every one-on-one duel in the first half hour.
Jordan’s victory was marked by goals from Yazan Al-Naimat (53rd) and Musa Suleiman (66th) in Al-Rayyan. The South Korean team, which had narrowly advanced to this stage by winning on penalties in the round of 16 against Saudi Arabia and in extra time in the quarter-finals against Australia, felt the absence of FC Bayern’s suspended defender Minjae Kim. However, he can now return to Munich immediately and is expected to play in the summit against Leverkusen on Saturday. The South Korean attack was also lackluster, particularly around Heung-Min Son. This suggests that Klinsmann will continue to face challenges in South Korea.
Klinsmann had already faced criticism even before the tournament. This was due to his inability to secure a win in any of his first five games with the Taegeuk Warriors. His frequent stays abroad rather than in South Korea were also viewed negatively, a pattern similar to his time as a national coach. The team’s performance at the Asian Cup was also not impressive. South Korea only managed to win one out of five games in regular time. It was the late goals that saved the team from an earlier exit. However, they were not able to stage a late comeback against Jordan.