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Korea's KFA denies Hiddink's job in jeopardy

© Reuters 2002

SEOUL, Feb 4 (Reuters) - South Korea's governing soccer body on Monday rejected local reports that said national team coach Guus Hiddink might be dismissed over Korea's fourth place finish at the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

The disappointing performance underscored Korea's troubles at the international level less than four months before Korea and Japan are scheduled to host the World Cup finals.

"The Association decided early on that Hiddink's contract would not be renewed after the World Cup. But following incomprehensible results such as 5-0 losses to France and the Czech Republic, and after the Gold Cup competition, the time could be brought forward," Seoul-based daily Sports Chosun said, quoting an unnamed Korea Football Association (KFA) official.

It said a 2-1 loss to lowly Canada, ranked 92nd in the world against Korea's place at 42nd, had put Hiddink's job in doubt.

"I don't think it's going to happen," KFA director general Ka Sam-hyeon told Reuters. "These reports are groundless."

Dutch coach Hiddink steered Korea to the semifinals of the Gold Cup after winning a quarterfinal penalty shootout over Mexico following a scoreless draw.

But Korea squandered scoring chances throughout the tournament, a problem Hiddink attributed to a lack of "killer instinct" in his front line.

Reports provided by

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Thursday, 7 February
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Wednesday, 6 February
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