Bento Combines Old and New Players for AFC Asian Cup Roster

  • By Lee Tae-dong

    December 21, 2018 11:08

    Paulo Bento, the head coach of the national football team unveiled the 23-man roster for the AFC Asian Cup in the UAE, which starts next month. Korea won the first two Asian Cups in 1956 and 1960 but has since suffered a 59-year trophy drought.

    The roster is comprised of mostly those who competed at the Asian Games in Indonesia last summer, with several new faces.

    Paulo Bento, the head coach of the national football team, speaks to reporters at a press conference in Ulsan on Thursday. /Yonhap

    Key members include Hwang Ui-jo of Gamba Osaka, Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur and Jo Hyeon-woo of Daegu FC. Several K-League players such as Kim Moon-hwan, Na Sang-ho and Hwang In-beom made the roster for the first time.

    A couple of veteran players like Lee Chung-yong of VfL Bochum and Ji Dong-won and Koo Ja-cheol, both playing for FC Augsburg, are also on the roster. Lee has recently regained his form after several years of struggle due to injuries. Ji and Koo also missed most of the Asian Cup qualifiers due to injuries.

    The footballers will fly to the UAE on Saturday and have a friendly against Saudi Arabia on Dec. 31, their last tune-up match ahead of the Asian Cup, which opens on Jan. 5. Korea will face the Philippines in Dubai on Jan. 7, Kyrgyzstan in Al Ain on Jan. 11 and China in Abu Dhabi on Jan. 16.

    The Asian Cup will feature 24 teams in six groups. The top two teams from each group will advance to the next round, along with the best four third-place finishers.

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