HWASEONG, South Korea, Oct. 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea men's national football team head coach Paulo Bento said Wednesday his players should not let their guards down against Sri Lanka even if the opponents are considered underdogs.
South Korea, 37th in the latest FIFA rankings, will take on 202nd-ranked Sri Lanka at Hwaseong Sports Complex Main Stadium in Hwaseong, south of Seoul in Gyeonggi Province, on Thursday.
It will be South Korea's second match in Group H in the second round of the Asian qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. South Korea defeated Turkmenistan 2-0 on Sept. 10.
Although many predict South Korea will win big against Sri Lanka, Bento said he is not buying into the hype.
"Whenever we meet weaker opponents, people predict that we'll collect a win with many goals, but in modern football, this is not always the case," Bento said at a press conference. "Whomever we face, we have to respect our opponents. Our goal is to maintain our playing style and get a win."
Since Sri Lanka are expected to sit back, Bento said the task for the Taeguk Warriors is to create space and penetrate the defense.
In recent weeks, local football fans have also been showing a big interest in how Bento will form his team's attacking corps after Red Bull Salzburg attacker Hwang Hee-chan and Girondins Bordeaux forward Hwang Ui-jo scoring goals for their respective European clubs with South Korean football ace Son Heung-min and towering striker Kim Shin-wook also on the squad.
"Son Heung-min will play tomorrow, but I haven't decided his playing time," the Portuguese coach said. "I've got some ideas of using Kim Shin-wook, but still I'm thinking about many other options."
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