South Korea coach facing axe

South Korea coach Uli Stielike was facing the axe after a World Cup qualifying defeat by Qatar plunged the team into a "big crisis" yesterday morning (Singapore time).

After the 3-2 defeat in Doha - South Korea's first to Qatar in 32 years - the Korean Football Association (KFA) turned on the 62-year-old German, whose team have also lost to Iran and China in Group A.

KFA spokesman Cho Jun Heon said: "KFA may discuss the coach's position when it holds a meeting of its technical committee."

South Korea, seeking their ninth consecutive World Cup appearance, are clinging to the second automatic qualifying spot, seven points behind already-qualified Iran and just one ahead of Uzbekistan.

"I take full responsibility for this result," said Stielike after the game. "I am the one who makes the tactical decisions."


For Qatar coach Jorge Fossati, the victory turned out to be bittersweet.

Although the result kept the Gulf nation's slim World Cup hopes alive, he apparently resigned moments after the final whistle.

Saying that Qatari football officials need to put a long-term plan in place for its development as a football nation, the 64-year-old Uruguayan told reporters it was time for a change.

He said: "If the federation agrees, I don't want to stand in anybody's way." - AFP

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