AFC Asian Cup 2019: South Korea not top favourite, says Paulo Bento

Paulo Bento, the South Korea coach, sought to downplay expectations while naming his side for the AFC Asian Cup, despite a string of impressive performances by his side in recent months.

Paulo Bento...“I'm confident that we’ll play well, but I also know we’re not the only team chasing the title.”   -  AFP

South Korean football coach Paulo Bento on Thursday named his squad for the upcoming AFC Asian Cup, seeking to downplay expectations despite a string of impressive performances by his side in recent months.

Tottenham’s Son Heung-min is included in Bento’s 23-man roster for next month’s 2019 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), alongside homegrown talent he has tested in recent friendly matches.

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South Korea has remained undefeated since the Portuguese took over the helm in August, collecting three wins and three draws in friendlies, including with Chile and Uruguay. The squad includes seven players active in Europe, including Tottenham’s Son, midfielders Ki Sung-yueng of Newcastle United, Hwang Hee-chan of Hamburger SV and Lee Chung-yong of Vfl Bochum as well as striker Hwang Ui-jo of Japan’s Gamba Osaka.

Son Heung-min is among the prominent players named in the South Korean squad for the AFC Asian Cup. Photo: Getty Images

 

“I'm confident that we’ll play well, but I also know we’re not the only team chasing the title. Other teams will be ready, too. I don’t think we’re the top favourites,” Bento told journalists in Ulsan.

“Our main goal is to execute our style of play and do what we intend to do on the pitch,” he said of the tournament in which South Korea is in Group C with China, Kyrgyzstan and the Philippines.

Bento’s team is scheduled to depart for the UAE on Saturday.

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