South Korea boss Uli Stielike blasted Syria’s “anti-football” and questioned whether they deserved to go to the World Cup after their surprise 0-0 qualifying draw.
Stielike said Syria were guilty of serial time-wasting during Tuesday’s match in Malaysia, the war-ravaged team’s temporary base as conflict rages at home.
“Before this match, I told the players about the opponents’ time-wasting football,” Stielike said, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.
“Even if they waste 15 minutes, only six minutes of stoppage time is given to us and this is why teams like Syria are using time-killing actions.” The former Germany and Real Madrid midfielder also urged the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to consider how teams play when it comes to deciding World Cup spots.
“The AFC should think about whether teams that are aggressive and technically talented or those that display ‘anti-football’ should go to the World Cup,” he said. South Korea are now third in Group A, two points behind leaders Uzbekistan, in the race to Russia 2018 after missing what looked like a certain win in Seremban. Stielike insisted he wasn’t making excuses for South Korea’s failure to win, saying they should have been able to score regardless of Syria’s tactics.
“This is not a stage to make an excuse that we collected a draw because of the opponents’ time-wasting tactics,” he said. “In order to beat this kind of teams, we must have scored, but we didn’t. And that’s our fault.”