When German soccer “legend” Jürgen Klinsmann took over the reins of the South Korean national team in March, the team’s win clock stopped. Fans had high hopes for Klinsmann, who promised to play “attacking soccer,” but the result was a 2-2 draw. His six-month winless streak is the longest for a foreign coach in Korean national team history.
Now it was time for a win. Ahead of the two A-match series in September, expectations for a first victory were high as the European players were in excellent form.
The national team will play its September A matches in England. 현금홀덤사이트 South Korea will face Wales on Sept. 8 and Saudi Arabia on Sept. 13. The Wales game will be held at Cardiff City Stadium in Wales, England, while the Saudi game will be held at St. James’ Park in Newcastle. The European squad will fly to the UK straight away, while the domestic squad will fly to the UK over three or four days.
The pressure is on Klinsmann and his squad for these September friendlies. In addition to the lack of victories in the trials, Klinsmann has been criticized for spending more personal time abroad than at home. The team’s roster for the A-Match was announced in writing without a press conference, adding to the negative publicity. If the team doesn’t get good results in the upcoming A matches, the skepticism about Klinsmann’s job will only increase.
Against this backdrop, the strong performances of the Europeans over the weekend have raised hopes for the victory-hungry squad. ‘Captain’ Son Heung-min (Tottenham) exploded for a hat-trick against Burnley in the English Premier League (EPL) over the past two days ahead of his call-up to the national team, while ‘monster defender’ Kim Min-jae (Bayern Munich) was also in fine form, playing his first full game since moving to Germany on the same day.
Hwang Hee-chan (Wolverhampton), who had been slowed by a thigh injury, showed off his sharp moves with a header against EPL Crystal Palace on the third. Additionally, Hong Hyun-seok (Gent), who plays in the Belgian league, scored a multi-goal performance against Krupp Brugge on the same day, and Cho Kyu-sung, who plays in the Danish professional soccer Mittwilan, recorded his first assist since moving to Denmark against Aarhus.
Celtic’s Oh Hyun-kyu, who missed nearly a month due to a calf injury in early August, also made his comeback in the Old Firm Derby against Rangers. With the exception of Lee Kang-in (Paris Saint-Germain), who was not called up to the squad due to a thigh injury late last month, a number of European players performed well, which is good news for Klinsmann as he prepares for the second leg of the A-Match.
In the K League, Lee Soon-min, who has been leading the recent surge of ‘promoted’ Gwangju FC, is a new addition to the squad, while Ulsan Hyundai’s Kim Young-kwon, Jeong Seung-hyun, Seol Young-woo, and Lee Dong-kyung, who are leading the way, will accompany him on the European expedition.
Their opponents, Wales and Saudi Arabia, are considered weaker than Korea. Their FIFA rankings are 35th and 54th, respectively, lower than Korea’s 28th. However, the first opponent, Wales, is expected to have a number of key players who have played in Europe, including Aaron Ramsey (Cardiff) and Ben Davies (Tottenham), so a fierce battle is expected. Their second-round opponents, Saudi Arabia, also have a history of upsetting the reigning champions, Argentina, in their group at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Roberto Mancini, the ‘mastermind’ who led Italy to the top of the European Championship in 2020, is at the helm.