Klinsmann, a player on West Germany’s 1990 World Cup championship team, will make his debut as the South Korean team’s manager in a home friendly March 24 against Colombia in Ulsan. The 58-year-old succeeds Paulo Bento, who stepped down after a four-year cycle in which he led South Korea to the round of 16 in last year’s World Cup in Qatar.
“I know that the Korean national team has been improving and achieving results over a long period of time,” Klinsmann said in a statement. “I am honored to follow in the footsteps of the great coaches who have led the Korean national team, from Guus Hiddink to my predecessor, Paulo Bento.
“I look forward to doing my utmost to help the team achieve success at the upcoming Asian Cup and the 2026 World Cup.”
Led by Son Heung-min, one of the world’s most popular players, and breakout star Cho Gue-sung, South Korea reached the knockout stage in Qatar with a stunning win over Portugal in its group finale, then lost, 4-1, to Brazil.
Klinsmann was fired as the U.S. coach in November 2016 after a slow start to the final round of regional qualifying for the 2018 World Cup. The Americans’ loss to Mexico was the first by the U.S. team in a home World Cup qualifier in 15 years. They then lost, 4-0, to Costa Rica, and Klinsmann seemed to seal his fate by saying that the team was “still in the process of finding itself” during a state dinner with German President Angela Merkel and U.S. President Barack Obama.
His German team finished third at the 2006 World Cup, and his U.S. team advanced to the round of 16 in 2014.
Klinsmann’s last coaching job ended in 2020 after 10 weeks in charge of Hertha Berlin in the German Bundesliga.