Jurgen Klinsmann: South Korea sack German after just 12 months in the role

Jurgen Klinsmann succeeded ex-South Korea boss Paulo Bento last year but the German has been an unpopular figure since taking over

Jurgen Klinsmann has been sacked as head coach of South Korea after just 12 months in the role.

The 59-year-old German was appointed in February last year, with his contract running until the end of the 2026 World Cup.

But South Korea were beaten in the semi-finals at the Asian Cup earlier this month, prolonging the country’s 64-year wait for the title.

There had also been reports of in-fighting between top players.

South Korea captain Son Heung-min reportedly injured his finger during a dispute with team-mates before their shock 2-0 defat by Jordan last week.

The incident took place at a team dinner, according to the Korea Football Association (KFA).

Following the loss to Jordan, who are ranked 64 places below South Korea at 87th in the world, Klinsmann said he had no plans to resign from the job.

However on Thursday, football officials said the ex-Tottenham striker and Germany World Cup winner had run out of time to turn things around.

“We’ve reached a consensus that Klinsmann cannot exercise his leadership as national team head coach for various reasons and that a change of leadership is necessary,” said Hwangbo Kwan of the KFA.

Klinsmann has been an unpopular figure with fans since taking over because of his lack of time spent in South Korea, preferring instead to remain based in California.

In his first six months in the job, a Seoul newspaper calculated Klinsmann had spent just 67 days in the country, in contrast to past foreign coaches who had all been based in the capital city.

He led Germany to third place at the 2006 World Cup and the United States to the knockout stages of the 2014 tournament, but his previous role before South Korea was a 10-week spell at Bundesliga side Hertha BSC four years ago.

South Korea’s star-studded side – which included the likes of Son, Wolves striker Hwang Hee-chan and Paris St-Germain’s Lee Kang-in – were one of the favourites to lift the Asian Cup but they failed to show any real creative spark during tournament.

They only won one match in normal time and in the second round, they were 90 seconds from elimination before a 99th-minute equaliser against Saudi Arabia and then winning a penalty shootout.

In the quarter-final, they levelled against Australia in the 96th minute before Tottenham’s Son scored a superb extra-time free-kick to book their last-four spot.

However, they did not register a single shot on target in the semi-final and were surprisingly outclassed by underdogs Jordan, who were beaten in the final by hosts Qatar.

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