Jurgen Klinsmann sacked as South Korea manager after Asian Cup failure

Jurgen Klinsmann has been dismissed from his role as South Korea manager following his side’s Asian Cup semi-final exit on February 6.

His sacking was confirmed at a press conference held on Friday with Korea Football Association president Chung Mong-gyu.

“The KFA has decided to change the national head coach following a comprehensive review,” he said.

“Klinsmann has failed to display managerial capability and leadership expected of a national head coach in areas ranging from tactics, personnel management to work attitude and others required to bring about competitiveness to the team.

“Klinsmann’s attitude and competitiveness as head coach has fallen short of people’s expectations and it was agreed that this would not be improved going forward, so we have decided to change leadership ahead of 2026 World Cup qualifying games.”

South Korea were beaten 2-0 by Jordan, a side ranked 87th in the world, during the 2024 tournament in Qatar.

Klinsmann was appointed manager in February 2023, succeeding Paulo Bento, who departed following the 2022 World Cup.

“Thank you so much for all your support taking us to the semi-final of the Asian Cup and an incredible journey over the last 12 months with not losing 13 games in a row,” Klinsmann wrote in a post to Korean fans on his social media accounts shortly before the KFA officially announced its decision.

South Korea were considered one of the pre-tournament favourites ahead of the Asian Cup but progressed to the knockout stages after winning one of their three group fixtures.

They scored late goals in the last-16 and quarter-finals before suffering a surprise loss to Jordan.

The squad for South Korea’s Asian Cup campaign was far from harmonious, with The Athletic reporting captain Son Heung-min suffered a dislocated finger following an altercation between a number of players.

The 59-year-old struggled to win over the South Korean public during his year in charge. The former Germany striker’s tactics were said to lack coherence, with an over-reliance on stars such as Tottenham Hotspur forward Son, Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Lee Kang-in and Wolverhampton Wanderers forward Hwang Hee-chan.


Son Heung-min, Lee Kang-in and the row that dislocated a finger and rocked South Korea’s Asian Cup

Klinsmann’s decision not to move to South Korea, and remain in the U.S., was not well received.

Following the Asian Cup exit, before his dismissal, Klinsmann had reiterated his desire to continue in the role and build towards the 2026 World Cup.

“I enjoy coaching this team,” he said. “We badly wanted to win the Asian Cup. We were on track until we hit Jordan. They were the better team and deserved to win. Overall we played a very good tournament, we were 13 games unbeaten. We’ve been very successful in the year I’ve been here. There are a lot of positives to take out the tournament, I’m looking forward to restarting for World Cup qualifying.”

Klinsmann previously had spells in charge of Germany, Bayern Munich and the USMNT.



Too many smiles – and South Korea’s other issues with Klinsmann’s awful Asian Cup

(Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

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