Former Portugal boss Paulo Bento named new South Korea coach
South Korea have named Paulo Bento as the new coach of the national team with the former Portugal boss taking over immediately.
The Taeguk Warriors have been looking for a replacement for Shin Tae-yong, who was not given a new contract after the 2018 World Cup in which Korea exited the tournament at the group stage.
Bento, 49, took Portugal to the semifinal of Euro 2012 though was soon on his way after a disappointing group stage exit at the 2014 World Cup. Subsequent spells in Greece, Brazil and China were short-lived and he was fired by Chinese Super League club Chongqing Lifan in July after a run of bad results.
"After reviewing his plans, we believe Bento is a coach who can develop South Korean football if we can support and wait for him for four years," Kim Pan-gon, the head of the Korea Football Association's Technical Committee, told a press conference in Seoul on Friday.
Kim admitted that Bento had not been on his original shortlist of three candidates which were reported to include former Japan boss Vahid Halilhodzic and Quique Sanchez Flores who has coached extensively in Spain.
"While we were in negotiations with the others, we heard that Bento had become available. We were excited with his results at Euro 2012 and while there were problems at the 2014 World Cup, he had already proven his leadership qualities."
Kim also dismissed worries about Bento's time in China. "Even there, he improved and developed the team's training. I have no worries at all about his ability."
"Bento likes a high-pressing game that doesn't allow the opponents to build any attacking momentum, and tries to prevent their counterattacks," Kim added. "He also has a good record in knockout stage competitions. He is professional, charismatic and has passion and confidence."
Bento's main task will be taking Korea to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and his first test will be the 2019 Asian Cup in January.
Korea start preparations with a home friendly against Costa Rica on Sept. 7 and then Chile four days later.