German coach wants to quench South Korea's Asian Cup title thirst

By Vy Anh   January 4, 2024 | 01:18 am PT
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann pledged to prepare carefully for South Korea to end its 64-year wait to win the Asian Cup.

"I will do my best to help the team win the title after 64 years, for the South Korean people and all people here," Klinsmann told reporters when arriving in Dubai on Wednesday.

The South Korea national football team will train here before going to Qatar to attend the Asian Cup on Jan. 10. The team will play their first match against Bahrain on Jan. 15.

Klinsmann has many players with European football experience in the squad, including stars like forward Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspurs), defender Kim Min-Jae (Bayern Munich) or young talent Lee Kang-In (PSG).

Their other stars are Hwang Hee-chan (Wolves), Lee Jae-seong (Mainz 05), Cho Gyu-sung (Midtjylland) and Hwang In-beom (Red Star Belgrade).

The last time South Korea won the Asian Cup was in 1960. They finished second four times in 1972, 1980, 1988 and 2015.

Former South Korean national captain Koo Ja-Cheol believes that coach Klinsmann and his team are capable of winning the Asian Cup this year, after more than six decades of waiting.

"South Korea have waited a long time for this title. They can succeed in this year's tournament, with the stars in the squad," Koo said.

At the previous Asian Cup in 2019, South Korea lost to Qatar in the quarterfinals. Qatar then defeated Japan 3-1 to win the title for the first time.

At this year's tournament, South Korea are in the same group as Malaysia, Jordan and Bahrain. These opponents are rated lower than South Korea.

The 2023 Asian Cup finals will take place in Qatar from Jan. 12 to Feb. 10 with 24 participating teams, divided into six groups.

The top two teams of each group and the four third-placed teams with the best records will qualify for the round of 16.

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