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South Korea name Hwang as interim coach to succeed Klinsmann

South Korea have appointed Hwang Sun-hong as interim coach to succeed Jurgen Klinsmann, who was sacked following their Asian Cup semi-final exit and revelations about a bust-up between star players.

Under-23 boss Hwang, who led South Korea to gold at last year’s Asian Games in Hangzhou, will take charge for next month’s home-and-away World Cup qualifiers against Thailand.

The Korea Football Association said it hoped to have a new full-time coach in place before their World Cup qualifiers against Singapore and China in June.

Klinsmann was sacked earlier this month following South Korea’s 2-0 semi-final defeat to Jordan at the Asian Cup in Qatar.

The KFA said the German, a World Cup winner as a player, had “failed to display managerial capability and leadership expected of a national head coach”.

Revelations emerged about a fracas between players on the eve of the Jordan game that left Son Heung-min with an injured finger.

Paris Saint-Germain’s Lee Kang-in subsequently apologised after Yonhap news agency said the 23-year-old had tried to punch captain and Tottenham star Son.

Lee’s representatives have denied there was a punch.

The conflict was reportedly triggered by younger players — including Lee — rushing through their dinner so they could leave early and play table tennis.

This angered some of the older players, including Son, who wanted to honour long-standing tradition that the pre-game dinner be a team bonding experience, triggering the brawl.

Lee and Son both played in the Jordan loss, the latter with two of his fingers strapped together.

Klinsmann, whose contract was due to run until after the 2026 World Cup, had promised to deliver South Korea’s first Asian title in 64 years.

Hwang will combine his duties as U23 coach and will take South Korea to the Under-23 Asian Cup in Qatar in April, where places at the Paris Olympics are up for grabs.

The 55-year-old is a former South Korea striker who played at three World Cups.

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