Channel NewsAsia

World Cup: Hong to stay on as S Korea coach despite early exit

Hong Myung-bo would continue as coach of South Korea's national soccer team despite their early exit from the World Cup, the Korean Football Association said on Thursday.

SEOUL: Hong Myung-bo would continue as coach of South Korea's national soccer team despite their early exit from the World Cup, the Korean Football Association said on Thursday.

Hong's position came under scrutiny after South Korea, who reached the semi-finals in 2002 on home soil, finished bottom of their group and earned just one point. It was the first time they had failed to reach the knockout stage since 1998.

Huh Jung-moo, KFA vice president, said Hong had tendered his resignation after Korea's 1-0 loss to Belgium in their final group game but KFA President Chung Mong-gyu had talked him out of stepping down.

"I don't think Hong's resignation would have solved the problem so we decided to continue to trust him," Huh told reporters at a news conference on Thursday.

"Hong said he intended to resign but Chung Mong-gyu persuaded him to keep his post until the Asian Cup (in 2015).

"Based on the failure at the World Cup, I am sure Hong will lead the team well at the Asian Cup."

South Korea have been drawn in the same group as hosts Australia for the January 9-31 Asian Cup next year. Hong's contract expires at the end of the tournament.

Huh said Hong, who led the South Korean Olympic team to a bronze medal in London, did not have enough time to make the adjustments he needed ahead of the World Cup.

"The preparation period was short and insufficient," continued Huh. "Just because he is the head of the national squad we don't think it's right for him to take all the responsibility. We will continue to support and trust him."

South Korea's most capped player with 136 appearances, Hong took over from Choi Kang-hee at the end of the team's lacklustre qualifying campaign but was unable to get them firing in Brazil.

His decision to stick with misfiring striker Park Chu-young drew criticism from fans, while his failure to sort out Korea's defensive woes led to an embarrassing 4-2 loss to Algeria that virtually eliminated them from the tournament.

Tweet Photos, Videos and Update on this Story to  #cna