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Uli Stielike stays on as S. Korea football coach

All Headlines 16:01 April 03, 2017

By Joo Kyung-don

PAJU, South Korea, April 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's football governing body said Monday the men's national team head coach Uli Stielike will remain at the helm despite an uninspiring World Cup qualifying performance last month.

The Korea Football Association (KFA) said its technical committee decided to keep Stielike as the national team boss after discussing his status in a meeting at the National Football Center in Paju, north of Seoul. The technical committee, led by KFA Vice President Lee Yong-soo, reserves the right to hire and fire national team coaches.

Stielike has been in hot water following the national team's mediocre performance in the final Asian qualifying round for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. South Korea are in Group A, along with Iran, Uzbekistan, Syria, China and Qatar.

Lee Yong-soo (C), head of the Korea Football Association's technical committee, attends a meeting to discuss whether to dismiss Uli Stielike, head coach for the South Korean men's national football team at the National Football Center in Paju, north of Seoul, on April 3, 2017. (Yonhap)

The Taeguk Warriors fell 1-0 to China on March 23, which was only South Korea's second defeat to the Asian neighbor in 32 meetings. Stielike's side managed to collect a 1-0 victory against Syria at home five days later, but fans here have questioned the German coach's tactical acumen.

South Korea also have yet to score or win away from home in the final round.

With three matches remaining, South Korea are currently second in Group A, but they are not in a safe position to grab the ticket to the 2018 World Cup. South Korea have 13 points from four wins, one draw and two losses, four points behind the leaders Iran and one point above No. 3 Uzbekistan.

Only the top two teams in the group directly advance to the World Cup in Russia, while the third-place team must go through playoff rounds to enter the world football's showpiece event.

Critics of Stielike have been saying that now is the time the KFA should sack him, since the men's team still has over two months before the next qualification match.

South Korea's next match is against Qatar in Doha on June 13. The national team will then host Iran on Aug. 31 before taking on Uzbekistan five days later on the road.

Stielike was appointed the men's national team boss in September 2014. He has so far posted 27 wins, four draws and six losses with South Korea.

kdon@yna.co.kr
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