Klinsmann on Asian Cup: “The first game is crucial”

“The first game is important”

South Korea national soccer team head coach Jürgen Klinsmann is ready for his team’s first match at the Asian Cup.

Klinsmann’s men will face Bahrain in their first Group E match at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup 2023 at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha, Qatar, on Friday at 8:30 p.m. ET.

South Korea has named a squad that features players who have been performing well in Europe recently, including Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur), Lee Kang-in (Paris Saint-Germain), Kim Min-jae (Bayern Munich) and Hwang Hee-chan (Wolverhampton Wanderers). The team is determined to lift the trophy for the first time in 64 years.

South Korea is in Group E with Bahrain, Jordan, and Malaysia at the tournament. In order to achieve a good result, the team will need to pick up momentum in the group stage, starting with their first match against Bahrain.

Bahrain is ranked 86th in the FIFA rankings, 63 places below South Korea, which is ranked 23rd. In terms of head-to-head record, South Korea has an overwhelming advantage with 11 wins, 4 draws, and 1 loss in 16 matches, and the squad is dominated by overseas players.

However, it’s too early to be complacent. It’s the first match of the tournament, so we don’t know what to expect. In addition, Korea has played Bahrain to a one-goal deficit in both the 2011 and 2019 Asian Cups. The team will have to prepare thoroughly for the match against Bahrain.

At the official press conference on Thursday, a day before the match, Klinsmann said, “The first match is very important. All the teams from the Asian Cup are strong. We don’t underestimate our opponents. So it’s going to be a tough game,” he said.

Hwang Hee-chan echoed his determination. “Now that the tournament is starting, we want to win every game and never lose. I have a great desire to show good results in every match.”

Meanwhile, Hwang Hee-chan and Kim Jin-soo (Jeonbuk Hyundai) are reportedly unavailable for Bahrain due to injuries. It will be interesting to see what kind of mercenary tricks Klinsmann will use to fill their spots.


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