Hopes Rising for New Nat'l Football Coach with 1st Victory

  • By Chang Min-seok

    September 10, 2018 11:13

    Paulo Bento

    Paulo Bento got off to a great start as the head coach of the national football team with a 2-0 win over Costa Rica in a friendly on Friday, tickets for which were sold out.

    The match has raised hopes for the new coach and the team under his leadership.

    Some 500 people were supposed to be allowed in for an open training session on Saturday, but some 1,100 fans flocked to the National Football Center in Paju, Gyeonggi Province to see the team.

    The atmosphere was reminiscent of a K-pop concert, with some teenage girls setting up tents and queuing overnight in front of the NFC.

    Star players like Son Heung-min and Lee Seoung-woo are so popular among young girls that they are worshipped like idol stars.

    Fans take pictures of footballers during an open practice session at the National Football Center in Paju, Gyeonggi Province on Saturday. /Yonhap

    Ki Sung-yueng stood out as one of the best players in the team against Costa Rica, though he only played the first half.

    Explaining why he passed the captaincy on to Son, he said, "If we are thinking ahead for the next World Cup in four years' time, it's only right for Son to be captain." He also said he would remain in the national team until the 2019 AFC Asian Cup in January next year. He had expressed his wish to retire from national duties since the end of the last World Cup in Russia.

    Tickets are expected to sell out once again for a friendly against Chile in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province on Tuesday. 

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