Go to Contents Go to Navigation

S. Korea football coach acknowledges team has to improve

2018 World Cup Russia 02:05 November 15, 2019

BEIRUT, Nov. 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea men's national football head coach Paulo Bento isn't one to make excuses. As far as Bento is concerned, the heavily favored South Korea's 0-0 draw against Lebanon in their World Cup qualifying match on Thursday was due to the team's own poor performance, not any outside factors.

"We just didn't play well today," Bento said at his post-match press conference. "In particular, we were worse in the second half than we'd have liked, and we didn't get the result we wanted. We tried to penetrate up the middle but it didn't work out. We have to be better."

South Korea men's national football coach Paulo Bento reacts to a play during his team's Group H match against Lebanon in the second round of the Asian qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup at Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium in Beirut on Nov. 14, 2019. (Yonhap)

Despite the disappointing draw, South Korea remained atop Group H in the second round of the Asian qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. They have eight points with two wins and two draws after four matches, with four matches remaining in the second round.

The eight group winners and four-best runners-up will move on to the third round.

Bento chose to set up his training camp in Abu Dhabi and the team didn't arrive in Beirut until the eve of the match. South Korea skipped the official practice in the Lebanese capital, citing sub-par quality of the field at Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium.

"Now that I've seen the pitch, I am glad we didn't practice here," Bento said. "It'd be a lame excuse to say we didn't get the result because we didn't train at this stadium beforehand."

This was South Korea's fourth match in Group H and their last for the year 2019. In 2020, South Korea will play three matches at home and one on the road.

Though South Korea pride themselves on being one of Asia's traditional football powers, they hold a slim one-point lead over North Korea at the halfway point in the second round. South Korea have now had two scoreless draws.

The 11 starting players for South Korea stand for their national anthem before facing Lebanon in a Group H match in the second round of the Asian qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup at Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium in Beirut on Nov. 14, 2019. (Yonhap)

"I understand that fans wouldn't be satisfied with our recent results," Bento said. "We have to keep working on regaining our form. But we're still in first place in our group. We haven't scored for two matches but we've also not given up any goals so far. I think it's positive that we kept our opponents off the board in a difficult match like today's."

When asked by a Lebanese reporter if he was worried about his job security, Bento responded, "Coaches have to be prepared for anything because you never know what can happen. But if I get fired in South Korea, I'll let you know."

jeeho@yna.co.kr
(END)

HOME TOP
Send Feedback
How can we improve?
Thanks for your feedback!