With South Korea set to face Jordan in the semifinals of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup this week, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said Monday he wants his players not to feel stressed about the occasion.”Just stay relaxed and look forward to it,” Klinsmann said at his prematch press conference at the Main Media Centre in Doha, when asked about his message to his squad. The match between world No. 23 South Korea and 87th-ranked Jordan will kick off at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan, west of Doha, at 6 p.m. Tuesday local time, or midnight Wednesday in South Korean time.”To eliminate all the things that are not important right now: for example, what the media say and whatever can take your thought away from what you want to achieve,” Klinsmann continued. “This group of players, they’re experienced, they’re so motivated, and they’re so positive. They just want to go all the way to the final and prove their point. They know what to do. It’s important to go into the game tomorrow against a very strong Jordan team with confidence, which we have, and willingness to suffer to go to the end.”
And suffer, South Koreans already have. The Taegeuk Warriors have played 240-plus minutes worth of football over their past two knockout matches in a four-day span, beating Saudi Arabia 4-2 on penalties and then Australia 2-1 in extra time.Klinsmann said Tuesday’s match will be “another nail biter” but his players will be ready for the battle. “We want to go further. We’re hungry. We’re fit,” he said. “We want to be here all the way to the final. The mood is very positive. The spirit is very high.”South Korea last won an Asian Cup title in 1960, and the pressure to end the long drought may be mounting as they sit two wins away from the continental glory.And as South Korea have continued to win close matches, Klinsmann said his team’s collective confidence has been growing.”I always believe that once you get on a roll into the tournament, you get the first couple of games out of the way, you build more and more confidence,” he said. “When you’re in the semifinals, your country gets behind you as well because everybody gets excited now. It turns into something very positive.”
This will be the second meeting of this tournament between South Korea and Jordan. On Jan. 20, Jordan held the heavily-favored South Korea to a 2-2 draw in their Group E match. Jordan came within minutes of upsetting South Korea, but Yazan Al-Arab was charged with an own oal during second-half stoppage time when a shot by Hwang In-beom went in off Al-Arab’s leg.In the semifinals, South Korea will be without their top center back, Kim Min-jae, who picked up his second yellow card of the tournament late in the Australia match. Klinsmann said it will take a team effort to overcome the absence of the Bayern Munich defender.”They have very special individual players that we’re aware of that can hurt you in a split second,” Klinsmann said. “We have to be on the top of our game to avoid any goals and play our game to our strengths going forward, and hopefully score at least one more goal than Jordan.”The other semifinal match will pit the host country, Qatar, against Iran at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Doha.Asked if he would prefer to meet one team over the other in the final, Klinsmann said: “We’re not allowed to think about the final yet. We have a lot of work to get 카지노사이트킹 done first.