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South Korea coach Uli Stielike was sacked on Thursday, two days after a 3-2 loss to Qatar put the country's hopes of automatic qualification for next year's World Cup finals in jeopardy.

"As the results of the final World Cup qualification round did not meet our expectation, the KFA and coach Stielike chose to end Stielike's contract under mutual agreement", said Lee, after a meeting in Seoul. The announcement was made just a day after Stielike and the South Korean squad returned home from Doha, where they fell to Qatar 3-2 in the final Asian qualifying round for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

South Korea remains in second place in Group A with 13 points from four wins, a draw and three losses.

Their campaign concludes with a home match against Iran on August 31 before they travel to Uzbekistan for a potential do-or-die clash to close qualifying.

With only the top two guaranteed a place in the finals - and Iran having already sealed the first spot - the KFA opted for a change ahead of its two final games - against Iran and Uzbekistan.

While the KFA estimated Son's recuperation would take about a month, Song Jun-Seop, a former national team doctor, gave a longer recovery time of at least 12 weeks, according to the daily.

South Korea's best finish in a major competition under Stielike came in 2015, when they reached the Asian Cup final before falling to Australia.

That said, because KFA was the one to end the contract, they are responsible for paying the remainder of Stielike's salary.

The KFA have not decided yet who will take over as coach for the final two qualifiers.

In this Wednesday photo, Uli Stielike, head coach of the South Korean men's soccer team, stands to meet the media after arriving from Qatar at Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea. But Korea has struggled in recent matches.

Lee said the next leader should possess two ingredients: risk management skills and the ability to communicate closely with the players.