‘Honoured’ Klinsmann named coach of South Korea

SEOUL: Jurgen Klinsmann, who won the World Cup as a player and led Germany to the semi-finals as coach, has been appointed head coach of South Korea, the country’s football association said Monday.

The 58-year-old will arrive in Seoul next week and be in charge for a friendly against Colombia on March 24, the KFA said, adding he had a contract until 2026.

The former Germany, Bayern Munich and United States coach succeeds Paulo Bento, who took the Koreans to the last 16 of the World Cup in Qatar, where they were beaten 4-1 by Brazil.

“I am very happy and honoured to be the head coach of South Korea’s national football team,“ Klinsmann said, according to a Korea Football Association statement.

“I am well aware that the Korean national team has been constantly improving and producing results over a long period of time,“ he said.

He added that he was “honoured to be following in the footsteps” of former South Korea coaches, including Guus Hiddink and Bento.

“We will do our best to achieve successful results in the upcoming Asian Cup and 2026 World Cup,“ Klinsmann said.

South Korea are led on the pitch by skipper and forward Son Heung-min.

Decorated career

Klinsmann had a long and decorated career as a striker, playing for clubs such as Inter Milan, Tottenham Hotspur and Bayern Munich.

He scored 47 goals in 108 appearances for Germany and won the World Cup with them in 1990.

In 2004, Klinsmann succeeded former strike partner Rudi Voeller as coach of the German national team, his first position in management.

He led Germany to third place in the 2006 World Cup on home soil, before taking over at Bayern and then the United States.

Klinsmann led the US team to the 2014 World Cup, where they lost 1-0 against eventual victors Germany, a side which included several players he had coached in 2006.

After being fired as US coach in 2016, he largely avoided top coaching positions, other than a brief, ten-week stint in charge of Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin in the 2019-20 season.

Klinsmann has remained popular in Germany. He appeared frequently in the German football media and is often touted as a potential replacement for high-profile coaching vacancies.

Klinsmann caused rare controversy at the 2022 World Cup when he suggested Iran’s “dirty” tactics were “just part of their culture”.

He later apologised and promised to contact then-Iran coach Carlos Quieroz directly. – AFP