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South Korean coach Uli Stielike fired after World Cup qualifier defeat

17 June 2017

Korea's national football team manager Uli Stielike was sacked on Thursday after a shock defeat to Qatar early this week in the final round of the Asian qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation.

"As the results of the final World Cup qualification round did not meet our expectation, the KFA and coach Stielike made a decision to end Stielike's contract under mutual agreement", said Lee, after a meeting in Seoul. The announcement came just a day after the South Korean squad returned home from Doha, where they lost to Qatar 2-3 in the Asian qualifying tournament for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, reports Xinhua news agency.

In Asian qualifying, the top two teams from each of the two groups will advance automatically to the 2018 World Cup finals in Russian Federation.

With only the top two guaranteed a place in the finals - and Iran having already sealed the first spot - the KFA opted for a change ahead of its two final games - against Iran and Uzbekistan.

After taking up the job in September 2014, Stielike had showed impressive leadership, achieving a runner-up finish at the AFC Asian Cup in Australia in 2015.

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The new Premier League season kicks off in eight weeks' time, on August 12, and South Korea have crunch World Cup qualifiers on August 31 and September 5. "I'm also in the position to bring results, but couldn't produce what we wanted".

South Korean media have speculated about possible replacements including Huh Jung Moo, who led the team to the last 16 at the 2010 World Cup, and Under-20 coach Shin Tae Young.

"The operation was successful", KFA Spokesman Cho Jun-Heon told AFP, adding that Son will stay in South Korea to focus on his recovery.

"I think every national football team head coach is an expert, and one year would be enough to build the team for the 2018 World Cup", he said.

South Korea are seeking to qualify for their ninth consecutive World Cup, a run which includes reaching the semi-finals on home soil in 2002.

South Korean coach Uli Stielike fired after World Cup qualifier defeat