Football: South Korea turn to Shin Tae Yong with World Cup hopes hanging in the balance

South Korean under-20 football team boss Shin Tae-yong waiting for the start of a U-20 World Cup A match against England at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, Seoul, South Korea on May 26, 2017.
South Korean under-20 football team boss Shin Tae-yong waiting for the start of a U-20 World Cup A match against England at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, Seoul, South Korea on May 26, 2017.PHOTO: EPA

SEOUL (REUTERS) - South Korea hope Shin Tae Yong's familiarity with the squad, good communication skills and ability to get the best out of young players will help get their World Cup campaign back on track after naming him the new national team coach on Tuesday.

The 46-year-old former South Korean international midfielder replaces German Uli Stielike, who was sacked last month in the wake of a poor run of results that left the side's 2018 World Cup hopes in the balance.

Stielike took the Koreans to the final of the 2015 Asian Cup just four months into the job, but has been unable to get the team back to that standard and was fired after a 3-2 defeat to Qatar in mid-June.

Korea Football Association (KFA) technical director Kim Ho Gon said Shin had been given a contract that would see him coach the team through the 2018 Finals if they qualified, but terminated if they failed to reach Russia.

"Shin has worked as an assistant coach for the national team and that's why he knows the players better than anyone," South Korean news agency Yonhap News quoted Kim as saying.

"One of his strong points is his communication skills, so he will make a good atmosphere in the team again."

Shin has been part of the coaching staff for the national youth sides since 2015 and was in charge of the team that reached the last 16 of the recent under-20 World Cup on home soil.

He also coached the Olympic side at the 2016 Rio Games where they reached the quarter-finals, and worked as an assistant to Stielike before taking over the under-20 team.

Shin, who made 23 appearances for the national team, faces a task in getting Korea's World Cup qualifying campaign back on track as the side aims to play in the Finals for a ninth consecutive time.

With Iran already assured of top spot in Group A, Korea, just a point ahead of Uzbekistan with two games remaining, must hold onto second spot to secure automatic qualification for Russia.

They host the Iranians in Seoul on Aug 31 before travelling to the Uzbek capital of Tashkent five days later in what will be a crunch tie.