Athletic

(Asian Cup) Klinsmann says latest S. Korean rally showed team’s character

SEOUL, When it comes to staging late comebacks at the ongoing Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup in Qatar, South Korea never seem to run out of magic. And head coach Jurgen Klinsmann believes these improbable wins have shown the true charact…

SEOUL, When it comes to staging late comebacks at the ongoing Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup in Qatar, South Korea never seem to run out of magic. And head coach Jurgen Klinsmann believes these improbable wins have shown the true character of his players. South Korea rallied for a 2-1 victory over Australia in the quarterfinals at Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, south of Doha, on Friday. They were three minutes away from having their title hopes evaporate, before Hwang Hee-chan scored a penalty to pull his side level a 1-1. Captain Son Heung-min scored a decisive free kick goal during extra time to lift the Taegeuk Warriors into the last four. Just three days earlier, South Korea had also needed a late equalizer to force extra time against Saudi Arabia in the round of 16. They then prevailed 4-2 on penalties. Klinsmann said he wasn't surprised at all by the tight battle, especially at this stage of the tournament. "We showed fantastic spirit, character, and energy again to come back and turn it around," the coach said in a televised interview with a South Korean channel tvN Sports. "I am super, super proud of every single player, even the players that didn't play, because it was a performance done by the entire team. They badly wanted to win this game. When captain Sonny scored the free kick, we thought we were going to take this home." In another interview with beIN SPORTS, Klinsmann said his team is ready to keep on rolling. "We've had so many difficult games in this tournament already but we believe we can go all the way through," he said. "We have this dream that we want to go all the way and win this tournament." Jordan will be the next hurdle for South Korea to clear as they try to win their first Asian Cup title since 1960. Jordan held South Korea to a 2-2 draw during group play on Jan. 20, with a late own goal by Jordan allowing South Korea to salvage a point. Klinsmann predicted "another nailbiter" against Jordan on Tuesday. "We respect them a lot. They played very, very well against us," he said. "Now, we're hungry for more."

Source: Yonhap News Agency