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Verbeek calls it quits in Qiu Qiu Online

Qiu Qiu Online

South Korea manager Pim Verbeek told reporters Saturday that he resigned prior to watching his team take third place at the Asian Cup with a 6-5 penalty shootout win over Japan in Palembang, Indonesia.

The news ended weeks of speculation that Verbeek would either step down or be sacked after the tournament. A transcript of his post-match press conference follows:

“I decided to resign. I asked the KFA this afternoon to terminate my contract. It’s time for me to find a new challenge.

I had two important targets. The first being winning the Asian Cup, which we didn’t. The second being qualifying for the Olympics.

I was disappointed that my four most talented players were ruled out of the (Asian Cup) due to injury, but I admit that I had plenty of other talented players to choose from and perhaps should have done better.

I have to be fair also and say we didn’t score enough. Defensively we were great, but to win at this tournament you have to score goals.

I lived a long time in Korea and they have great fans. I will leave with wonderful memories.

I really enjoyed the Asian Cup from start to finish. I’m not being sarcastic or cynical, I really enjoyed the tournament.

But now I need a long break so I can be ready for the next ten years (of coaching).

I plan to go back to Europe and take a holiday. I’ve lost my energy to be honest. It’s time to re-energize and find something new.”

Asked if he would consider coaching another Asian team, Verbeek responded:

“I will seriously consider any interesting option. I am open to everything. But in the next five months? No thank you.”.

Iraq vs Saudi Arabia Asian Cup Final

The 2007 Asian Qiu Qiu Online Cup Final will see Iraq play Saudi Arabia in Jakarta at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, on Sunday.

Iraq came through their semi-final at Bukit Jalil National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur 4-3 in a penalty shoot-out after the teams finished 0-0 after extra time.

Saudi Arabia shocked defending champions Japan 3-2 at My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi to set up a final few people could have predicted. Iraq will be appearing in their first ever Asian Cup Final.

East Asian powerhouses Japan and South Korea play off for third place on Saturday at Jaka Baring Stadium, Palembang, in Indonesia.

Verbeek On The Brink

Verbeek On The Brink

No sooner had Kim Jung-woo missed South Korea’s fifth penalty kick against Iraq in the semi-final of the Asian Cup in Kuala Lumpur than the country’s media was speculating over the future of coach Pim Verbeek.

After two spells as assistant under Guus Hiddink and Dick Advocaat, Verbeek took over the head coach position a year ago, promising colourful and intelligent football. According to one leading sports site, OSEN, there was little of that on display as Korea scored only three goals in five games – two of which went to extra time.

The 0-0 draw with Iraq saw Korea enjoy plenty of possession and pressure but few chances were created as strikers Cho Jae-jin, Lee Chun-soo and Lee Dong-gook went through the competition without finding the back of the net.

Before the tournament, Verbeek told me that: “If we fail to reach the semi-finals that I will seriously consider my position.” This statement became headline news in Korea and it has led to the Dutchmen having to field questions about possible resignations every time the team looked to be in danger of crashing out.

After the last four exit, it was inevitable that the issue would be raised once more and so, in the post-match press conference, Verbeek had the following to say.

“I took my decision already but I am not going to say what it is because I want to keep the Korean people excited for the next couple of days.But if the Korean fans think we didn’t play a good tournament than they must have a different vision of playing international football.

“I think a lot of countries would be very proud to reach the semi-finals and to see their team fight until the very last second of extra time to get to the final. I should be proud to be a fan of Korean football because while we did not always play good, we were not outplayed in any game throughout this tournament and we were fighting like hell to get a good result.

“If people think that is not enough that’s okay because I have no problem with that.”

The 50-year old’s contract finishes at the end of the Beijing Olympics, a competition that South Korea have a good chance of qualifying for. Verbeek is also at the helm of that team and the chance it gives to work with the country’s young players is something he enjoys very much. It remains to be seen if that is enough to keep him from leaving.

Reaction to Korea’s performances in the Korean media have mostly been of disappointment with the coach rather than outright anger. “Is Verbeek responsible for the goal-less strikers?” asks one article. Reasonable questions are being asked though the coach’s leadership and tactical skills have not been well-received. A lack of variety when attacking is the most common complaint.

It is entirely possible, even probable, that Verbeek will head home to Europe and Korea will be in the position of trying to replace Hiddink for a sixth time in the space of five years.