On verge of being fired, Klinsmann thanks S. Korean football players for ‘incredible journey’

In a likely sign that his time with the South Korean men's national football team will soon come to an end, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann thanked his players on social media Friday. "To all players, my coaching staff and all Korean football fans with sincere gratitude!" the German coach wrote on his Instagram just after 1 p.m. in South Korean time. Klinsmann is staying at his home in California. "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 before the semi-final!" Klinsmann was referring to South Korea's 2-0 loss to Jordan to end their journey at the top Asian Football Confederation tournament in Qatar on Feb. 6. The Taegeuk Warriors were trying to win the country's first Asian Cup title since 1960, but fell to a team placed 64 spots below them in the FIFA rankings at No. 87. Chung Mong-gyu, president of the Korea Football Association (KFA), is scheduled to announce his decision on Klin smann's fate around 2:40 p.m. Friday. Chung met with senior executives earlier in the day at the KFA headquarters in Seoul to discuss a recommendation made by the advisory National Team Committee on Thursday to dismiss Klinsmann. Klinsmann was appointed on Feb. 27, 2023, and made his South Korea coaching debut the following month. The team went winless in Klinsmann's first five matches, a skid during which the coach faced heavy criticism for his lack of tactical acumen and for spending more time overseas than in South Korea despite an earlier pledge to live in his host country. South Korea won their final five matches of 2023, and also won their last tuneup match prior to the Asian Cup. Then they beat Bahrain 3-1 to begin the group stage at the tournament. It ended up being the team's only victory in regulation time. They were held to a 2-2 draw by Jordan in the next match, eking out a point after Jordan had a late own goal. South Korea then played lowly Malaysia to a 3-3 draw, after conceding a last-minu te equalizer to 130th-ranked team. South Korea got by Saudi Arabia 4-2 on penalties in the round of 16 and beat Australia 2-1 in extra time in the quarterfinals, before running into a Jordanian wall in the semifinals. In the immediate aftermath of the elimination, Klinsmann defied calls to resign and said he wanted to stay on to prepare for South Korea's FIFA World Cup qualifying matches in March. Klinsmann had been signed through the end of the 2026 World Cup. Source: Yonhap News Agency

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