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Former Portugal boss Bento is South Korea's new coach

By Sajith B Warrier
Paulo Bento

Seoul, August 17: South Korea have appointed former Portugal boss Paulo Bento as the new coach of the national football team.

Bento, a former Benfica and Sporting Lisbon midfielder succeeds Shin Tae-yong who led the country in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, but stepped down after the tournament, following the Taeguk Warriors' failure to progress to the knockout stages.

In Russia, the Taeguk Warriors lost to Sweden and Mexico before producing a stunning 2-0 win over defending champions Germany in the final group game.

Shin had taken over from German Uli Stielike after the German was fired amid a run of poor results that left Korea's chances of qualifying for Russia hanging by a thread.

The Korea Football Association (KFA) announced Bento's appointment at its headquarters in Seoul, adding that the 49-year-old had signed a four-year contract to take the side through the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The former Portugal midfielder, who lined up against South Korea in their 2002 World Cup match in Incheon, has also managed club sides Sporting, Cruzeiro and Olympiakos.

He was appointed head coach of Chinese side Chongqing Lifan in December but was fired last month with the team sitting 12th in the league and knocked out of the Chinese FA Cup.

During his four-year stint in charge of his native Portugal, Bento led the side to the semifinals of Euro 2012 but suffered disappointment at the World Cup two years later when they exited at the group stage.

Kim Pan-gon, head of the KFA's national team coach appointment committee, said Bento ticked all the boxes on their wish list and his appointment would help develop Korean football.

"Bento is a fit for South Korean football as he promotes a pressing style of play that doesn't allow opponents to build their attacks and also stifles counterattacks," said Kim.

He added that the committee saw Bento as a coach who exudes "charisma, professionalism, passion and confidence".

Bento's first major task will be to win South Korea's first AFC Asian Cup since 1960, with the tournament taking place in the United Arab Emirates in January.

He will then have to prepare the side for the 2022 Qatar World Cup qualifying campaign.

Bento will be in charge for South Korea's friendlies against Costa Rica and Chile next month.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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    Story first published: Friday, August 17, 2018, 11:22 [IST]
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