Stielike sacked after shock loss

Violet Powell
June 17, 2017

South Korea coach Uli Stielike was sacked on Thursday, two days after a 3-2 loss to Qatar put the country's hopes of automatic qualification for next year's World Cup finals in jeopardy.

"In mutual consent with head coach Uli Stielike, we will terminate the contract", Lee Yong-soo, KFA's head technical director, said during the press conference held after the meeting on Thursday.

Stielike's dismissal, which was confirmed at Thursday's meeting of the Korea Football Association (KFA) Technical Committee, comes with the East Asians now second in Group A of the third round of Asian qualifiers, seven points behind the already-qualified Islamic Republic of Iran, but crucially just one ahead of Uzbekistan in third. He had been widely expected to go after Tuesday's loss to Qatar, which left South Korea clinging to the second automatic qualifying spot in Group A.

A two-leg play-off against the third-place team in Asia Group B would be required, with the victor then advancing to an intercontinental play-off against a team from CONCACAF in another home-and-away series for a spot at Russian Federation 2018.

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Stielike was brought in and restored some pride when he led the side at the 2015 Asian Cup, where his team reached the final without conceding a goal before losing to hosts Australia. Stielike's contract was supposed to run until Korea's elimination at some stage during the upcoming World Cup, assuming it qualified. "I'm also stepping down from my position".

South Korea sit second in their AFC qualifying group, seven points behind leaders Iran and one point ahead of third-placed Uzbekistan with two matches left to play.

The KFA have not decided yet who will take over as coach for the final two qualifiers.

He claimed that next national team boss should be a local, adding that the new coach will not be a caretaker for the remaining two matches, but will be guaranteed to lead South Korea through the 2018 World Cup should they qualify. "In my opinion, this is the situation where South Korean coach should take over".

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