Doha, 20 January 2024 - Citing the West Asian side’s impressive 4-0 win over Malaysia in their opening match, Klinsmann said his players cannot be complacent against Jordan.
“In their very first match, Jordan showed their determination to make it to the knockout stages and we have to be alert at all times,” said the German. “Everyone expects them to be defensive, but you don’t score four goals by just defending and we will have to do everything to wear them down.
“This is a great Korean side with guys who are doing a great job across top competitions, including the AFC Champions League™ and several European leagues. As a coach, it’s a privilege and a lot of fun to be able to spend so much time with this team,” said the German.
“We have a lot of quality in our squad, and such resources have to be utilised well. I’d say we are confident but not overconfident and are taking the Asian Cup one game at a time. However, our intention has been clear from the start - to stay in the competition till the very end.”
With several players on yellow cards after their opening match against Bahrain, the challenges for the Taeguk Warriors have intensified with first-choice goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu sustaining a torn anterior cruciate ligament during training, ruling him out of the campaign.
Klinsmann, a former striker who won the 1990 FIFA World Cup with West Germany, drew on his own experience as a player to motivate his squad.
“Having been a player myself, I think these are just problems you have to live with and move on. Cautions are a part of the game and while you can do your best to avoid picking up a second and getting ruled out, you can’t step onto the field with fear in your mind.
“We are all upset about losing Seung-gyu and we will fight for him and keep him in our mind when we play our remaining matches.”
The strength of the Korea Republic side is not lost on Jordan head coach Hussein Ammouta, who is hoping to see his side capitalise on their impeccable performance against Malaysia to combat the East Asian heavyweights’ stellar line-up.
“We played an outstanding match and the three points have really helped us,” said Ammouta. “But now we are up against one of the strongest teams in the competition and we need to play as one team and our reaction time has to be minimal.”
Tasked with the responsibility of containing formidable talents like Lee Kang-in and Son Heung-min, the Jordan head coach is placing his trust in a strategic zonal marking approach to thwart any potential goal-scoring threats.
“Man marking is difficult because it creates large gaps. We prefer to use zonal marking and will resort to man marking only in very specific situations,” he said. “Our main focus is to remain compact, defend from the front and not leave many spaces behind for Korea Republic to use.”
Jordan v Korea Republic
Venue: Al Thumama Stadium (Doha)
Kick-off: 14:30 (UTC+3)