Jürgen Klinsmann’s first win in charge of South Korea’s national soccer team in six games has come in the form of a 1-0 victory over Saudi Arabia.
Klinsmann, who has made no secret of his ambition to win the Asian Cup next January, took a breath of fresh air with an exhibition win over Saudi Arabia, a team he could face at the tournament. However, given Japan’s performance at the A-Match in September, it’s hard to be too confident of winning the Asian Cup.
The South Korean men’s national soccer team, led by Jürgen Klinsmann, won 1-0 against Saudi Arabia in their second September A match at St. James’ Park in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, at 1:30 a.m. KST on Sept. 13. It was the first win in six matches since the launch of Klinsmann in February.
After surviving a number of early scares, South Korea struck first. In the 32nd minute, Son Heung-min collected a loose pass from Lee Jae-sung in front of the Saudi box after Hwang In-beom stumbled into the box. The pass bounced off a Saudi defender and into the air, where Cho Kyu-sung was quick to pounce and slot the ball into the left corner of the goal. South Korea took a 1-0 lead. South Korea held on to the goal to record their first win under Klinsmann.
Both South Korea and Saudi Arabia struggled to find the back of the net in the first half, despite creating plenty of chances. Klinsmann kept the same starting lineup with the exception of Hwang Hee-chan in place of Hong Hyun-seok, and the positions of the players were similar to those in Wales, so it didn’t look like they came out of the gates with any kind of a lead.
Then, in the 32nd minute, Klinsmann’s luck changed. Hwang In-beom’s penetrating pass bounced off a Saudi defender, but Cho Kyu-sung spotted it before the defender did and rushed forward to head home. The goal ended up being the winning goal for South Korea and gave Klinsmann his first win.
Of course, it was a split-second decision by Cho Kyu-sung, but it was more of a “lucky goal” with deflection and a defensive mistake than a promising move or individual skill in an attacking situation. It was also lucky that it was the final goal, 바카라 as both teams created many threatening chances.
It was more than just a first win, as the opponent was Saudi Arabia, who will likely meet at the Asian Cup in Qatar next January. “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 a win.”
Klinsmann may have gained more confidence with the win over Saudi Arabia. But Japan’s dominant performance in the September tournament is likely to be the biggest obstacle to South Korea’s Asian Cup success.
After securing both the performance and result with a 4-1 thrashing of Germany on Sept. 10, Japan made 10 changes from the starting lineup against Germany on Sept. 12, with the exception of defender Hiroki Ito. However, an efficient flanking attack and a three-goal first-half surge secured a 4-2 victory.