In September, two coaches were at odds over the selection of players for their respective national teams. At the Asian Games, Hwang Sun-hong led the men’s soccer team to a gold medal in Hangzhou, despite a barrage of criticism.
Now it’s the turn of Jürgen Klinsmann, the head coach of the A team. After barely picking up his first win in six games in September, Klinsmann will be looking to close out a crucial stretch leading up to the October A matches, November World Cup qualifiers, and the Asian Cup in January.
The Korea Football Association held an online press conference at 10 a.m. on Sept. 9 to discuss Klinsmann’s call-up for the October A match.
On October 2, the KFA announced the 24-man roster for the Korea Men’s National Team’s two home friendlies against the Hana Bank Invitational. Coach Klinsmann, who also announced the A squad in September through a press release, announced the A squad again without a press conference, and only gave an interview a week later.
The squad, including Son Heung-min and Lee Kang-in, will convene at the Paju National Training Center at 2 p.m. on Sept. 9. Oh Hyun-gyu, Hwang Eui-jo and Hwang Hee-chan will join later on the 9th, while Cho Kyu-sung, Kim Min-jae, Park Yong-woo and Hwang In-beom will join on the 10th. South Korea will play two friendly matches against Tunisia on the 13th (8pm, Seoul World Cup Stadium) and Vietnam on the 17th (8pm, Suwon World Cup Stadium).
The October A matches are an important part of Korea’s preparation for the 2023 Asian Cup in Qatar next January. Despite being dubbed the “powerhouse of Asian soccer,” South Korea is thirsty for an Asian Cup title, having not won the tournament since 1960.
Klinsmann, 토토사이트 who took charge of the national team in February, made it clear from the time he arrived in South Korea in March that “winning the Asian Cup is the goal”. Even when the national team drew with Wales in an A match in September, the longest winless streak in the history of the national team’s previous manager (five games), Klinsmann said, “The standard by which Korean soccer fans can evaluate Klinsmann is the Asian Cup in January next year. For me, success at the Asian Cup is winning.”
The road to the Asian Cup is not easy. Tunisia-Vietnam will be the next A-match, and the team will need to build on the momentum from the victory over Saudi Arabia in September. In November, they begin the second round of qualifying for the 2026 FIFA World Cup in North and Central America. Drawn in Group C with China, Thailand and the winner of the Singapore-Guam playoff, South Korea will face the winner of Singapore-Guam at home on Jan. 16 and China away on Nov. 21.
Aside from the first game against the weakest team in the group, China’s unruly behavior at the Asian Games makes them a tough opponent, especially given the injuries to their squad. They’ll need to win their first two matches of the World Cup second round qualifiers to come into the Asian Cup with a clean slate. The Asian Cup is no easy task either, as it features a host of Asian powerhouses, including Japan, who are on a four-match winning streak after beating Germany, as well as Australia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. The fact that South Korea hasn’t won the Asian Cup in more than 60 years despite being a dominant force in the region is testament to this.