A Korea Football Association (KFA) advisory committee recommended sacking head coach Jurgen Klinsmann on Thursday after their semifinal exit at the Asian Cup and amid criticism of his leadership.

The National Team Committee does not make administrative decisions, leaving it up to the KFA’s Executive Board whether to act on its recommendation to fire Klinsmann, whose contract runs through the 2026 World Cup.

South Korea, 23rd in the FIFA rankings, were beaten by 87th-ranked Jordan 2-0 in the Asian Cup semifinals earlier this month, prompting fans and some politicians to call for the 59-year-old’s dismissal.

The German’s popularity in Korea plummeted during the tournament, with many criticising his demeanour, including how he’d be smiling even when things were not going his team’s way on the field.

Off the field, Klinsmann also repeatedly faced criticism for often working in Los Angeles, where he is based, despite saying he would spend much of his time in South Korea.

He took part in Thursday’s meeting via video call.

“For various reasons, there was a conclusion that coach Klinsmann can no longer exercise leadership as the national team’s coach and needs to be replaced,” Hwang Bo-Kwan, Technical Director at the association, told reporters after the meeting.

Some saw Klinsmann’s attitude towards his job including a lack of time spent in South Korea as “disrespectful” towards the public, Hwang added.

Klinsmann, who won the World Cup in 1990 as a player, has previously managed the Germany and United States national teams, as well as Bundesliga side Bayern Munich.

He took charge of South Korea last year after Paulo Bento stepped down following their defeat to Brazil in the round of 16 of the World Cup in 2022.

Klinsmann’s tenure got off to a rocky start, with South Korea failing to win any of his first five games in charge, losing to Uruguay and Peru and drawing with Colombia, El Salvador and Wales.

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