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I’m confident! So, working from home like now… Klinsmann’s ‘My Way’ remains unchanged

 Although I returned to Korea, not much had changed. Jürgen Klinsmann, who leads the Korean national soccer team, expressed confidence that he would perform well in the Asian Cup, but also expressed his intention to go overseas again.

Coach Klinsmann returned from England through Incheon International Airport Terminal 2 on the 14th with members of the Korean national team. Klinsmann returned from England during the international break in September after playing a two-game series between Wales and Saudi Arabia.

On the 8th, Klinsmann played his first A match with Wales in Cardiff City, England, and drew 0-0. Then, on the 13th, the team moved to St. James Park in Newcastle, northeastern England, and clashed with Saudi Arabia in the Middle East. Striker Cho Kyu-sung’s winning goal was well taken to win 1-0, and the team earned their first win after 3 draws and 2 losses since Klinsmann took office as head coach.

Klinsmann, who returned with his first win since taking office, stood in front of reporters and answered questions as soon as he returned to Korea. The first thing he had to do was explain why he had decided to withdraw his plan to remain in Europe and come to Korea.

Initially, Klinsmann had no intention of coming to Korea after his A match ended. The Korea Football Association (KFA) reported that Klinsmann decided to watch the match between Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen in the fourth round of the 2023/24 German Bundesliga season, which will be held at 3:45 a.m. on the 16th. Klinsmann announced his intention to observe Minjae Kim on this day.

After watching the Munich game in person, the intention was to visit a European club, meet with officials, conduct an on-site analysis with the coaching staff staying in Europe before the international match in October, and then return to Korea. However, as soon as this fact was announced, Korean soccer fans reacted violently.

The reason given was that it was a maintenance of the European team, but the Korean fans were not at all convinced. Kim Min-jae is one of the world’s best defenders and has established a solid position in Munich, and fans could not hide their bewilderment at the policy of observing again the national team’s regular defender, whom he had used as a starter in two consecutive international matches just a few days ago.

In fact, the fans’ strong reaction was due to the anger that had been building up until now. Klinsmann, who has been leading the Taegeuk Warriors since February, sparked controversy over ‘working from home’ by living overseas, such as in the United States, longer than in Korea. British public broadcaster BBC also pointed out, “It is estimated that Klinsmann stayed in Korea for only 67 days during the past six months since he was appointed to the Korean national team.”

Coach Cha Du-ri was tasked with observing the K-League, while Klinsmann performed national team duties in Europe and the United States. During this period, he worked in the United States and appeared as a panelist on the soccer program of global sports media ESPN and Spain’s leading newspaper AS, analyzing and evaluating Premier League teams including Tottenham and evaluating the trends of Harry Kane and Lionel Messi. He was criticized for showing actions that are difficult to consider as a coach of the Korean national team that reached the round of 16 of the World Cup, such as predicting a win or draw or loss in some games.

In addition, ahead of the September international match, he attended the 2023/24 UEFA (European Football Confederation) Champions League final group draw event held in Monaco, France on the 1st, and before that, he visited AS Monaco in French Ligue 1, his former team during his active career, and gave an interview. He showed actions such as eggplant that are difficult to believe as the coach of the national team.

In the end, the association relayed the fans’ reactions to Klinsmann. Citing the example of the coaches who were in charge of the Korean national team returning home together after the overseas international match schedule, Klinsmann withdrew his original plan to remain in Europe and returned to Korea 45 days after early August.

Regarding his decision to return to Korea, Klinsmann said, “I came because I heard that many people were waiting for me. I heard a lot from the association, and I heard that usually when the players return home after an overseas expedition, the coach also returns home, so I came back. “It got me thinking,” he explained. “I was planning to watch the match between Bayern Munich and Leverkusen this week, but I thought it wouldn’t be a problem to change the schedule too much and it would be right to travel with the team, so I decided to come in.”

He continued, “I think I’ll also be able to meet you all at the K-League site this weekend. When I worked in Germany or the United States, when I went abroad, many people rarely welcomed me, so there are also new aspects.” “It’s a new experience to be welcomed by so many people after a friendly match, so we’ve made a change in the schedule,” he added.

First of all, Klinsmann announced his intention to remain in Korea and observe the K-League players, which is the most important aspect for Korean fans. However, the most important thing is continuity, and the main concern of fans was how long Klinsmann would remain in Korea and carry out his duties.

When asked about his future schedule, Klinsmann said, “I have a schedule that will keep coming and going. There are games to watch abroad,” and announced that he plans to go abroad again. However, he emphasized that this is a preparatory process in preparation for the actual battle starting in November.

Korea is scheduled to hold two friendly matches on October 13th and 17th. The opponent in the first game is Tunisia, a North African powerhouse that beat France in the group stage of the Qatar World Cup finals, and in the second game, they will face Vietnam, which was led by coach Park Hang-seo until last January. Both games will be held in Korea, with the match against Tunisia being held at Seoul World Cup Stadium and the match against Vietnam being held at Suwon World Cup Stadium.

After the October international match ends, it will now be a real match, not a friendly match. First, starting in November, the second round of qualifying for the 2026 World Cup Asia will be held jointly by three countries, including the United States, Canada, and Mexico. 

First of all, the first match of Group C of the second qualifying round will be held at home on November 16, but the opponent has not yet been decided. It will be played against the winner of Guam and Singapore, which will be played home and away on October 12th and 17th. Singapore is ranked 158th and Guam 204th in the FIFA rankings, so Singapore’s power is objectively evaluated to be superior. Then, on November 21st, they will travel to China in the second match of Group C.

Once the World Cup Asian regional qualifiers are over, the 2023 AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Asian Cup Qatar, which can be called Klinsmann’s most important test, begins in January 2024. In the tournament, Korea was placed in Group E along with Jordan, Bahrain, and Malaysia, and Korea’s goal is to reach the top of the Asian Cup for the first time in 64 years.

With the important schedule getting closer, Klinsmann announced his intention to overcome the controversy over his controversial moves and performance head-on with his performance. In the interview, Klinsmann emphasized that the Asian Cup is a ‘benchmark’ and said his goal is to achieve good results at the Asian Cup.

Klinsmann said, “There is not much time left until the Asian Cup, but our ‘benchmark’ is the Asian Cup.” He added, “I am confident that we will achieve good results in the Asian Cup and have high expectations, but how will we prepare and face our opponents until then?” “I think the key will be whether we analyze the key players. At the same time, we are going through a process of positive growth.”

He went on to promise, “It is especially important because it is the actual game starting in November. There may be some parts of the A-match that we are not satisfied with, but we will gather the best players for the Asian Cup and prepare well to achieve good results with the best team.”

Klinsmann cited his rich tournament experience as a reason for being confident about the Asian Cup. Klinsmann, who was Germany’s legendary striker during his career, experienced victory in the 1990 Italy World Cup, and after turning into a leader, he led the German national team to third place in the 2006 German World Cup and led the U.S. national team to victory in the 2013 Gold Cup.

Based on this, Klinsmann said, “I have a lot of experience in tournaments, including the World Cup, as a player and as a coach, and I have enjoyed tournaments. So, I have experience in how to prepare and organize a team in a tournament, so I can put it in good shape and play well.” “I am thinking of forming a team,” he said, expressing his confidence.

However, as for the elements necessary to achieve good results, “The most important thing is for the players to reach the Asian Cup healthy. Not only Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur) and Kim Min-jae, but also Hwang Hee-chan (Wolverhampton Wanderers) suffered a hamstring injury and are not in 100% condition. “It wasn’t, and Lee Kang-in (PSG) is currently out due to injury,” he said. “If these players are healthy and prepared and can go to Qatar as the best team, I think we can achieve good results.”

At the same time, he pointed out that in order to achieve good results in the competition, it is necessary to avoid negative public opinion and reactions from those around you, including fans. Otherwise, he warned, the team could end up like the German national team that was considered a favorite to win the 2022 Qatar World Cup but was eliminated in the group stage.

He said, “After a big competition, I think we need to receive a lot of positive public opinion and strength when preparing for the next competition. Only then can we succeed.” He added, “No matter how strongly we unite internally and send positive messages, 안전놀이터 external factors and many people can “If we continue to create negative public opinion, the team will inevitably be shaken,” he argued.

He explained, “The reason I’m telling this story is that the German national team at the 2022 Qatar World Cup is a very good example. Everything was negative for Germany even before going to the World Cup, and they ended up getting eliminated in the group stage and suffered the humiliation of going home.”

Based on this, Klinsmann said, “The players must receive positive public opinion, atmosphere and energy. In particular, the national team is the people’s team and the team representing the country, so creating a positive atmosphere together is a great help.” “I think we should criticize, criticize, and be criticized when we don’t get the grades or get the results we want,” he said, requesting that negative public opinion, such as criticism, be refrained from until the results come out.

Ultimately, what Klinsmann means is to wait until the results come out in the World Cup regional qualifiers and the Asian Cup. It means that they will justify their actions so far through their performance, but fans who watched the six international matches played under Klinsmann so far did not easily trust them.

In particular, Korea’s biggest rival, Japan, is on a 4-game winning streak with tremendous firepower, scoring 18 goals in 4 recent international matches, and is considered a strong candidate for the championship, so there is a question mark over whether Klinsmann’s goal of winning the Asian Cup is possible. Japan even surprised fans by defeating ‘Tank Army’ Germany 4-1 in an away game against Germany on the 10th.

Additionally, since Klinsmann’s argument stems from the idea that ‘everything is fine as long as the results are good’, there are many fans who view him with unfavorable views as he seems to be trying to justify an incomprehensible move with a championship trophy. If the results come out, it means that he will continue to ‘work from home’ overseas as he is now and leave domestic work, including observation of K-League players, to coaches.

If the results are not achieved, it is unclear whether Klinsmann will reflect on his actions and show a different side from before. Since the ‘working from home’ controversy is a chronic problem that has been discussed since Klinsmann was leading the German national soccer team in the past, it is questionable whether the failure to win the Asian Cup can change Klinsmann.

In the end, if Klinsmann is to calm down the current negative public opinion, he must first back up his performance. Attention is being paid to whether Klinsmann, who achieved his first win in 6 international matches, will be able to achieve performance and results that will satisfy fans at least within the stadium during the remaining period.

Photo = Incheon Airport, reporter Kim Han-jun, provided by the Korea Football Association, AFC website Xports News DB

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