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1 German football coach vs. 8 S. Korean coaches

Posted December. 18, 2020 07:40,   

Updated December. 18, 2020 07:40


The German Football Association recently announced its decision to stick with German national football team coach Joachim Löw. The decision came about despite the public calling for his replacement following Germany’s 0-6 loss against Spain in the UEFA Nations League’s group match on November 18. It was the first time in 89 years that the German national team lost by six goals to another national team.

According to German media specialized in football “Kicker,” 93 percent of surveyed respondents said having Löw lead the national team is inadequate. However, the participants of a video conference to decide the fate of Löw unanimously agreed to keep him. With the decision, Löw who was appointed as the coach of the German national football team right after the German World Cup in July 2006 can lead the team until 2022 according to the contract signed two years ago. As an active national football team coach, he has the longest experience of 14 years.

The biggest crisis met by Löw was when Germany lost to South Korea 0-2 with Kim Young-gwon and Son Heung-min finding the net back to back in a group match of the Russian World Cup in 2018. As the winner of the previous Brazil World Cup in 2014, Germany’s disqualification from Group F with the worst performance was shocking. While some called for the replacement of Löw, the German Football Association also unanimously decided to continue with him back then.

When it is confirmed that a coach’s capabilities are insufficient, he or she should be replaced. A timely replacement is essential for a team’s improvement and invigoration. However, the process should be carried out systematically. South Korea’s frequent replacement of its national football team coaches has been criticized that it is only to please the angry fans whenever the team struggles. There is a vicious cycle of the Korea Football Association replacing a coach at an inappropriate timing and the new coach feeling pressure and suffering from the lack of time. A coach should be selected based on a long-term perspective and rigorous verification and given necessary authorities and time.

Löw’s continued direction was decided probably because he has reliable track records – the third place in the 2010 South Africa World Cup, champion in the Brazil World Cup, and three consecutive advancements to the semifinal of the UEFA European Championship. Whether the decision was the right one or not will be decided by his future performance. However, the German Football Association’s statement that says, “one match isn’t enough to judge a coach,” provides lessons for us.

Won-Hong Lee bluesky@donga.com