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Uruguay football coach happy to meet his old pupil in Seoul

All Headlines 18:33 October 11, 2018

SEOUL, Oct. 11 (Yonhap) -- Uruguay football coach Oscar Tabarez said Thursday he is happy to meet his old pupil Paulo Bento, who is now leading the South Korean national football team.

Tabarez's Uruguay brought 22 players for a friendly match against South Korea at Seoul World Cup Stadium in Seoul on Friday. They will next face Japan on Tuesday.

The 71-year-old manager, who led Uruguay to fourth place at the 2010 FIFA World Cup and to victory at the 2011 Copa America, said he supports Bento, who he spent a season with in 1998, and who took the South Korean team helm in August.

"I know that South Korea made a coaching change after the 2018 World Cup. I will support Bento to lead the South Korean team well," he said at a press conference at Seoul World Cup Stadium.

Tabarez and Bento were on the same team as a coach and a player when they played for Real Oviedo in the Spanish La Liga.

Uruguay national football team head coach Oscar Tabarez speaks at a press conference at Seoul World Cup Stadium in Seoul on Oct. 11, 2018, one day ahead of his team's friendly match against South Korea. (Yonhap)

Uruguay have yet to suffer a loss against South Korea, collecting six wins and one draw in their previous meetings.

Tabarez, who has been leading the Uruguayan team since 2006, came to South Korea for the 2007 friendly in Seoul where they beat the host 2-0. Uruguay also faced South Korea in a 2014 friendly, but Tabarez didn't make a trip to Goyang, north of Seoul, and let his chief assistant to coach the national team.

"I'm happy to be back in South Korea with this good opportunity," he said. "South Korea is beautiful."

Tabarez, who also led Uruguay from 1988 to 1990, has beaten South Korea twice at the FIFA World Cup. His side edged South Korea 1-0 in the group stage of the 1990 World Cup and collected a 2-1 win in the round of 16 at the 2010 World Cup. He said South Korean football will progress further.

"From the 1990s, South Korean football has developed like it was having a revolution," he said. "From youth level to senior level, they're playing at a high level and their players are talented. They've been progressing for the last 10 years, and I believe they will further show their power."

kdon@yna.co.kr
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