South Korea appoint U-23 boss Hwang Sun-hong to lead through upcoming 2026 qualifiers

February 27 – Hwang Sun-hong, manager of the U-23 team, will lead South Korea on an interim basis following the exit of Jurgen Klinsmann, the South Korean FA (KFA) confirmed. 

A KFA advisory had been tasked with looking for a replacement for the German after the Koreans departed the recent Asian Cup in the last four. Hwang was appointed ahead of the World Cup qualifiers in March when they will play Thailand in a doubleheader.

Hwang comes with ample experience from the national team setup. He was a member of South Korea’s team that reached the semi-finals of the 2002 World Cup on home soil. He led the U-23 national team to gold in the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games.

Hwang will resume his U-23 duties after March as the focus will switch to Olympic qualifying.

“Our committee, in the meantime, will hold in-depth discussions to appoint a full-time coach, reviewing what kind of football we want to pursue and which style of the coach we need,” said Jung Hae-sung of the KFA committee advisory board.

The national team is seeking to rebuild after an acrimonious campaign at the Asian Cup in Qatar. The Koreans did reach the semi-final stage, but they never impressed as a team, their style of play was labelled ‘zombie football’ under Klinsmann, who came under increased criticism for his style of coaching.

The elimination by Jordan in the semi-final prompted a crisis with the German pushed to the exit door and a quarrel between captain Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur and Lee Kang-in of Paris St Germain receiving widespread publicity.

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