ESPN said, “Is it manager Klinsmann who has Son Heung-min in Korea?”
“Korea has Son Heung-min (32) of Tottenham Hotspur. But is Klinsmann fit to be a coach?”
ESPN, a U.S. sports media outlet featuring Korean men’s national soccer team coach Jürgen Klinsmann as a broadcast panel, pointed out Klinsmann as a variable for the national team’s challenge to win the Asian Cup. ESPN reported in an article titled this on the 9th that it delivered domestic criticism of Klinsmann and pointed out the reason one by one. In particular, as the national team, which is considered the strongest ever, is leading the team, if its performance does not meet expectations, it will be difficult to guarantee its term of office.
As ESPN pointed out, it is hard to trust Klinsmann’s leadership in terms of his recent career as a coach. He ranked his country in third place at the 2006 World Cup in his homeland Germany, and was appointed as the coach of Germany’s most prestigious club Bayern Munich in July 2008, but was dismissed during the season. Philippe Lam, who played for Munich at the time, later wrote in his autobiography that Klinsmann was “tactically incompetent.”
In 2016, when he was leading the U.S. national team, he suffered the disgrace of failing to advance to the finals for the first time in 32 years as he slipped in the qualifying round for the 2018 Russia World Cup in North and Central America. Later, he took the helm of Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga from the end of 2019, but he stepped down on his own after 76 days after conflicts with the club. Even local media in Germany did not recognize coach Joachim Löw’s tactical capabilities, saying, “After the success of the German national team in the past, coach Joachim Löw was great.”
ESPN reported that even after Klinsmann took over as the head coach of the Korean national team, he still remained skeptical. He criticized his lack of tactical capabilities as well as his violation of his promise to stay in Korea. “Media and fans have gone as far as to calculate the amount of time he has spent in Korea compared to the amount of time he spent at his home in California, the U.S.,” he said.
For Coach Klinsmann, the time for evaluation is approaching. Whenever the contents of the past matches were bad or the national team’s call-up list was questioned, he said, “Our goal is to win the Asian Cup,” and asked us to consider it as a process of strengthening our organizational power. As expected, Korea is expected to meet strong Iran in the quarterfinals of the tournament for the first time. ESPN pointed out that “Even if we lost to Qatar in the quarterfinals, we were given a chance until the 2022 Qatar World Cup, but it is questionable whether Klinsmann will be given a chance under similar circumstances.”
After all, the only way for Klinsmann to regain his trust is to prove his performance. It is not impossible given the players of the current national team. Son Heung-min, the captain of the first English Premier League scoring team in Asia, Kim Min-jae (28, Bayern Munich), who ranked 22nd at the Ballon d’Or to determine the world’s best soccer player, and Lee Kang-in (23), the next-generation ace who has become the starting member of Paris Saint-Germain, a prestigious French Ligue 1 club, are holding out.
Korea, however, has had no Asian Cup championship for 64 years even though it has famous players such as Son Heung-min and Park Ji-sung. So far, there have been no injured players and the players’ skills have reached their peak, but the fact that the players’ capacity is thin is a weakness. We don’t know what variables will happen in the tournament. Coach Klinsmann’s capabilities have been put to the test in earnest.
Meanwhile, the national team, which has been conducting off-season training in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), entered Doha, Qatar, on the 10th, the site of the Asian Cup showdown.