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New South Korea coach targets Asian title

/ 06:32 PM August 23, 2018

FILE – In this Sept. 29, 2016 file photo, then Olympiakos’ coach Paulo Bento holds the ball during the Europa League Group B soccer match between Olympiakos and APOEL at Georgios Karaiskakis stadium in Piraeus port, near Athens. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris, File)

SEOUL, South Korea— New South Korea coach Paulo Bento wants to bring the Asian Cup back to Seoul for the first time since 1960.

The former Portugal and Sporting Lisbon boss was appointed last week to take the Taeguk Warriors to the 2022 World Cup but the 49 year-old first wants continental success in January.

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“I will try to achieve an ambitious goal with South Korea, which is to win the Asian Cup and qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup,” Bento said in his first meeting with the media on Thursday in Seoul. “It’s going to be a long project, but I’ll also use this opportunity to take South Korean soccer to the next level.”

Bento, who also has experience in Brazil, Greece and China, has a chance to evaluate his players in person when he names his first roster on Monday ahead of two friendly games on home soil. Korea takes on Costa Rica on Sep.7 and then Chile four days later.

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“We have so many talented young players, so we should give them an opportunity,” he said. “We’ll have two friendly matches next month, and it’s my opportunity to check the players.”

Bento has been busy watching videos of his new team, which exited the 2018 World Cup under Shin Tae-yong at the group stage despite defeating Germany in the final game in Russia.

“There are players who competed in the qualifying rounds for the World Cup but didn’t go to Russia,” he said. “I’ll finalize the roster once I review all the players.”

South Korea has been drawn with China, the Philippines and Kyrgyzstan in the Asian Cup.

“We will be playing opposition that will be defensive and we need to find a way to solve those issues,” Bento said.

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TAGS: Asian Cup, Paulo Bento, Seoul, South Korea, Taeguk Warriors
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