Shin takes over South Korea ahead of World Cup qualifiers

Shin-Tae-yong,-South-Korea's-olympic-soccer-team-head-coach,-poses-during-a-media-access-day-for-the-upcoming-2016-Rio-Olympics-at-the-National-Football-Center-in-Paju,-South-Korea,-Tuesday,-July-5,-2016.-(Ahn-Young-joon/AP)

Shin Tae-yong, South Korea's olympic soccer team head coach, poses during a media access day for the upcoming 2016 Rio Olympics at the National Football Center in Paju, South Korea, Tuesday, July 5, 2016. (Ahn Young-joon/AP)

SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — South Korea appointed Shin Tae-yong head coach on Tuesday and charged the former Asian Champions League winner with taking the national team to the 2018 World Cup finals.

The 46-year-old Shin replaces Uli Stielike, who was fired in June after a third defeat in five qualifiers.

"Shin previously worked as assistant coach for the national team and that’s why he knows the players more than anyone else," said Kim Ho-gon, the newly appointed technical director of the Korea Football Association (KFA).

As well as his experience as No. 2 to Stielike, Shin led the Under-23 South Korea team to the last eight of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and the Under-20s to the second round of the 2017 World Cup, played on home soil.

The former midfielder, who made 23 appearances for South Korea, established his reputation as an attacking coach when leading K-League club Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma to the 2010 ACL title.

South Korea is second in Group A in the third round of qualification for the 2018 World Cup with two games remaining, a point above Uzbekistan in third. Only the top two automatically advance to Russia.

The 2002 semifinalist hosts already qualified Iran on Aug. 31 and travels to Tashkent for what could be a decisive match against Uzbekistan five days later.

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