Bento Forecasts Tough Road for Korea in World Cup Group Matches

  • By Song Won-hyung

    April 08, 2022 11:19

    Portugal-born coach Paulo Bento, who leads Korea's national football team, shared his feelings about facing his native country in the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar in November.

    Following the draw held in the Qatari capital of Doha last week for the group-stage matches preceding the round of 16, Korea has been grouped with Ghana, Portugal and Uruguay.

    "It's the first time that I am going to play against my country. I need to prepare myself to do that professionally," Bento said in a press conference in Paju, Gyeonggi Province on Thursday, adding that he had hoped to avoid a World Cup clash between Korea and his home country.

    Portugal-born coach Paulo Bento speaks in a press conference in Paju, Gyeonggi Province on Thursday. /Yonhap

    Bento played in the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan before taking the helm of the Portugal national team from 2010 to 2014.

    But he said he will "analyze the Portugal team in the same way" as he does all of the opponents he has to compete against.

    "I would say it's almost impossible to think that in the final phase of the World Cup, we can have an easy group," he said. "To go through to the knockout stage, we must compete very, very well. And maybe that can't be enough because we will have strong opponents in our group," he added, tipping Portugal and Uruguay as most likely to be the two teams that advance to the round of 16.

    Asked about Korea's final roster for the World Cup, he said he has not finalized it yet, adding that chances are still open to all the players, as he will continue to monitor them to come up with the best lineup.

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