The Korean national soccer team, which recruited Jurgen Klinsmann as a new head coach, will play again after the glory of the Qatar World Cup round of 16. During his active career, Klinsmann was at the apex of the German striker lineage of the ‘tank corps’. When discussing the world’s best goalscorer in the 1990s, his name always comes up.
After his retirement, he also took an elite course as a coach. He went through the national team (Germany, USA) and club (Bayern Munich, Hertha Berlin) coaching positions, and light and dark coexist. As national team manager, he left a clear mark in the World Cup (Germany’s 4th round in 2006 and 16th round in the United States in 2014), but he struggled at the club. At Hertha Berlin, which was his last team before coming to Korea, he did something out of common sense, expressing his gratitude through social media after a disagreement with the club and resigning. This is the reason why expectations and concerns were mixed at the news of the appointment of the Korean national team.
The face of the national team, which was first convened under the Klinsman system, did not change much from the final list for the last World Cup in Qatar. Hwang Hee-chan, Hong-chul, and Yoon Jong-gyu, who are injured, were left out, but Oh Hyeon-gyu, a reserve member for the World Cup, and Lee Ki-je, who was lacking in left-sided defense, were selected.
In fact, even in the friendly match in March, he chose to gradually permeate the team rather than radical changes. The starting list for the first match against Colombia (March 24) was similar to the best members of the last World Cup. Cho Kyu-seong was placed at the forefront, and Son Heung-min, Lee Jae-seong, and Jung Woo-young (Freiburg) were placed under him. The midfield and center back also chose the combination of Hwang In-beom and Jung Woo-young (Al Sadd) and Kim Min-jae and Kim Young-kwon, whom former coach Bento trusted the most.
The color of the former coach, who dominated the game based on a high share and pursued a purposeful build-up, came out at the beginning. But there was a crucial difference. He increased the tempo, aggressively moving forward and speeding up the attack. It was a point where director Klinsman’s direction could be confirmed. The key was to give Son Heung-min maximum freedom. Son Heung-min moved around the side during the Bento coach, but in the Colombia match, he moved in the same line or back and forth with Cho Kyu-seong at the forefront, digging into the space behind the opponent’s defense.
The result is Son Heung-min’s multi-goal. In the 10th minute of the first half of the match against Colombia, Lee Jae-seong put pressure on the team unit to induce the goalkeeper to make a mistake, and then Heung-Min Son scored the first goal with a kick. It was an impression that the national team reproduced the method of using Son Heung-min, which Jose Mourinho showed when he was leading Tottenham in the past.
Under the Tottenham manager Antonio Conte this season, Son Heung-min completely lost the pace of last season’s top scorer. There was also a problem that his condition was not perfect, such as wearing a mask due to an orbital fracture at the beginning of the season, but he seemed to be struggling to coexist with Harry Kane, Dejan Kulusevski, and Hischarlisson. Coach Conte positioned Son Heung-min as halfway between a flanking midfielder and an attacking midfielder. It was rare for Son Heung-min to come close to scoring (Coach Conte resigned on March 26 after a disagreement with Tottenham).
On the other hand, in the Klinsman system, Son Heung-min was the center of the attack. More advanced than in his previous national team days, he moved freely in the centre, rather than on the flanks. Manager Klinsmann made the most of Son Heung-min’s capabilities to increase both the speed and efficiency of his attack.스포츠토토 Son Heung-min also seemed to be enjoying himself with a smile that was difficult to see at Tottenham recently.
If the focus was on maximizing Son Heung-min’s capabilities in the Colombia match, Lee Kang-in was the target of intensive observation in the Uruguay match. Lee Kang-in started as a right-sided midfielder and played his first full-time A match. In South America, he broke down the side with his unique ball touch and skill against defenders from Uruguay, who are famous for being tough. Left-footed Lee Kang-in caught the Uruguayan defense off guard with an accurate right-footed cross in the first half. His team, Mallorca, is also gradually increasing the frequency of using his right foot, and it seems that the opponent is adding weapons one by one with unpredictable play. Over the past year, I have gained confidence ‘physically’, and even offset the weakness of my left foot. Lee Kang-in’s efforts and evolution are in an atmosphere that is answered with trust in Klinsman’s managerial system. It is also a point of contrast with Bento’s days, and it was the 90 minutes that revealed Coach Klinsman’s tendency to maximize the team’s capabilities by making the most of the player’s characteristics rather than confining the player to a tactical system.
Outside the stadium, more active changes are felt. He has a free and flexible attitude to the national team’s management principles. Director Klinsmann is of German nationality, but has lived in the United States for over 20 years after marrying his American wife. Perhaps that is why he drew attention by presenting a team management method that added American thinking to European football.
A typical example is moving the training to the morning after the national team was summoned. In the afternoon, he announced that he would promote the development of the team and individuals in various ways. Like most soccer team cycles in Europe, team-level physical or tactical training was conducted in the morning, followed by self-training or rest in the afternoon to fill in the missing parts of each player. After the game against Colombia, the players who had been paying attention because they couldn’t adapt to it, practiced shooting or gathered by position to play a passing game.
Klinsman who actively communicates with “a cup of coffee”
As coach Klinsman said, “If there is no special routine, I want to enjoy a cup of coffee with the players,” the tea time was also held. It is said that they had various conversations with director Klinsman over coffee by group or individually. Players’ individual concerns and requests were also shared during this process. Head coach Klinsman removed the uniform numbers from the previous training session before the second game against Uruguay, saying, “I memorized the names and faces of the players.” The atmosphere at meal times has also changed. In order to make the meal time, which was rather static, a lively and enjoyable atmosphere, he suggested that the players ‘talk loudly’.
Trying to actively communicate with the domestic soccer community is also a very different move from foreign leaders in the past. It stood out in the process of finding a replacement for Kim Jin-soo, who left the national team due to a lumbar injury during the game against Colombia. Coach Klinsman selected Seol Young-woo (Ulsan) as a replacement, and he was recommended after communicating quickly with his team’s coach Hong Myung-bo. The two directors continued their exchanges through their ties to the United States during their active career. Coach Hong said, “I showed interest in Seol Young-woo, so I recommended him while explaining the player’s strengths and weaknesses.” Prior to Klinsman, foreign coaches had no contact with Korean coaches in selecting players or managing the national team. Often there was a ‘disruptive’ argument over the selection of players. Coach Klinsman is attempting a soft landing for Korean soccer by using information from coach Hong Myung-bo and recruiting FC Seoul youth director Cha Doo-ri as an advisor for the national team.
As a former star player, his speech is also interesting. Knows how to attract public attention. While praising Lee Kang-in’s performance, he praised him, saying, “The only way Uruguay could stop Lee Kang-in was a foul.” He described Oh Hyeon-gyu, who quickly adapted and grew up at Celtic, as “a player with the hunger to score goals.” During his coaching hiatus, his message is intuitive as he appeared as a football panelist in a famous European media and commentated on matches. He motivates players with flashy expressions and raises expectations for media and fans. It is often said that ‘first impressions always betray’, but the first impression of the new director is that he has erased a lot of concerns at the time of his appointment. This is the change of the national team on the 9th under the Klinsman regime.