Bento expects S. Korea to ascend to next level through friendly vs. Uruguay

October 11, 2018

PAJU, South Korea, Oct. 11 (Yonhap) — South Korean men’s national football team head coach Paulo Bento said Thursday he believes a friendly match against Uruguay can take his team to the next level.

South Korea, No. 55 in the latest FIFA rankings, will host fifth-ranked Uruguay at Seoul World Cup Stadium in Seoul on Friday. It will be Bento’s third match with South Korea since he took the helm in August. Bento’s side beat Costa Rica 2-0 and collected a 0-0 draw with Chile last month.

“Uruguay are very strong opponents, and we expect to have a tough match tomorrow,” Bento said at a press conference at the National Football Center (NFC) in Paju, north of Seoul. “But we found that Uruguay are somewhat similar to Chile. Regardless of the result, I believe South Korea can advance to the next level by playing these kind of matches.”

South Korea national football team head coach Paulo Bento speaks at a press conference at the National Football Center in Paju, north of Seoul, on Oct. 11, 2018, one day ahead of their friendly match against Uruguay at Seoul World Cup Stadium in Seoul. (Yonhap)

South Korea national football team head coach Paulo Bento speaks at a press conference at the National Football Center in Paju, north of Seoul, on Oct. 11, 2018, one day ahead of their friendly match against Uruguay at Seoul World Cup Stadium in Seoul. (Yonhap)

The Taeguk Warriors have not beaten Uruguay in their previous seven meetings, collecting one draw and six losses. Bento said results will follow if they play a good game.

Bento emphasized that he wants South Korea to display their style of play against strong opponents, but he also wants to check how his players cope with difficult situations during the game.

“We’re in the process of making our football identity,” he said. “We want to show our style of football, but we also need to find solutions when our game plan is not working well.”

Bento said he’ll also check whether the attackers can make quick transition to defense when his side loses possession.

“I want to see how the players can quickly organize defense and execute moves when we’re transitioning from offense to defense,” he said.

Sales of tickets for the national team matches have been booming since Bento took the helm. The 49-year-old said he wants to deliver a satisfying performance to sell-out crowds.

“I want to make our fans proud of our national team,” he said. “I’m sure they’ll be satisfied when they see our players’ fighting spirit on the pitch.”

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