Stielike sacked after latest Korea defeat

South Korea axed coach Uli Stielike yesterday after a shock defeat by Qatar left their chances of qualifying for next year's World Cup in Russian Federation hanging in the balance.

The South Koreans lost 3-2 to Qatar on Tuesday and on Thursday a spokesperson from their football association announced the decision to relieve Stielike, 62, of his duties.

In the final round, the Taeguk Warriors remain in second place in Group A with 13 points from four wins, a draw and three losses.

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If Korea ends up finishing third in the group, they will have to play the third-ranked teams from the other groups, as only the top two teams will be given another shot at the World Cup in Russian Federation at 2018.

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.

Stielike was appointed in September 2014, after South Korea had been pelted with toffees, a Korean insult, upon returning winless from that year's World Cup in Brazil. Stielike's contract was supposed to run until Korea's elimination at some stage during the upcoming World Cup, assuming it qualified.

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It was South Korea's third defeat in the last 5 qualification games and left hopes of progressing to a ninth successive World Cup uncertain.

The KFA have not decided yet who will take over as coach for the final two qualifiers.

"I believe we can produce better results with new people", he said. But Korea has struggled in recent matches. "For now, I think we have a small pool of candidates to choose from". As for the next possible head technical director, Kim Hak-bum, former Seongnam FC head coach, Ahn Ik-soo, former head coach of the Korean U-20 national football team, Hong Myung-bo, former Hangzhou Greentown head coach and many others were mentioned.

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