Back from Cup, Huh quits

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Back from Cup, Huh quits


National football team head coach Huh Jung-moo announces his retirement at Korean Football Association headquarters in Seoul yesterday. By Kim Kyung-bin

South Korea’s World Cup coach Huh Jung-moo yesterday announced his decision to resign as coach of the national football team, saying he wants to recharge himself and pursue some academic activities for the time being.

Huh returned home earlier this week from South Africa after becoming the first native-born coach to lead the South Korean football team to the second round of an away World Cup. South Korea was eliminated after losing to Uruguay 2-1 in a Round of 16 match on June 26.

“I want to have time to retrace my path, study what we have to do for the future and recharge myself,” said Huh at a press conference in Seoul, wrapping up his two-and-a-half-year reign as national team chief.

“There are many great and capable experts in South Korea. I think I should step aside and give them a chance.”

The 55-year-old took the helm of the national football squad in late 2007 after Dutch coach Pim Verbeek left the team.

After qualifying for the World Cup finals without suffering a defeat, Huh’s team advanced past the group round with four points from a win, a draw and a loss, before being knocked out by Uruguay.

“During the World Cup tournament, I felt that our players lag behind the world’s football powerhouses, especially South American teams,” said Huh, noting that they gave up eight goals in four games, including a combined six to Argentina and Uruguay.

“We are competitive enough in terms of physical and mental strength and organizing ability. But technically it’s impossible to win against them controlling and passing the ball, and the logic of the situation and so on.

“Whatever I end up doing, I really hope that Korea will be able to play on the international stage and I want to contribute to South Korean football in any way I can.”

Huh, who was a famous midfielder in the 1980s, said he was happy when the team won the group opener 2-0 against Greece and sealed its spot in the second round with a 2-2 draw with Nigeria.

The Korea Football Association will discuss Huh’s successor next week for the upcoming Asian Cup slated for January next year in Qatar.

Chung Hae-soung, the chief assistant coach of the Huh’s squad, and Hong Myung-bo, the coach of the Olympic national team, are candidates for the position.

The new coach is expected to start his term before the next friendly match against Iran in September.


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