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Bento expects normal service from Korea Republic in regional meet

Friday, December 6, 2019
Paulo Bento-Korea Republic-AFP

Ulsan: The likes of Son Heung-min and Hwang Hee-chan may not be a part of the Korea Republic squad but the target for the Taeguk Warriors in the 2019 EAFF E-1 Championship will be the same - playing their best.

Head coach Paulo Bento's squad for the regional tournament consists of players who play their club football in Korea Republic, China and Japan.

The lone exception is Vancouver Whitecaps FC midfielder Hwang In-beom while the Europe-based players were not called up to allow them to focus on their club commitments.

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Bento, however, believes this is a chance for him to blend more players into the national team set-up ahead of Korea Republic resuming their Asian Qualifiers campaign in March for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023.

Korea Republic ended the year second in Group H of the Asian Qualifiers following consecutive draws with DPR Korea and Lebanon.

"We'll maintain our philosophy and try to play the best we can," Bento said.

"This is an important competition. We'll try to figure out how some of the new faces blend in with the rest of the team. No matter which tournament you play, you have to work to get the best result possible."

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6년만에 다시 대한민국을 찾아온 2019 EAFF E-1 챔피언십! 🇰🇷남자 축구 국가대표팀의 명단을 공개합니다! ⠀⠀⠀ #남자부 🏟 부산아시아드주경기장 🇰🇷v🇭🇰홍콩 12.11(수) 19:30 🇰🇷v🇨🇳중국 12.15(일) 19:30 🇰🇷v🇯🇵일본 12.18(수) 19:30

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Korea Republic will be defending the title they won in the last two editions and seeking a fifth overall but Bento said he is looking at the big picture heading into the tournament.

"The biggest motivation for me is to continue developing this team. And if it brings the results and gives us the third straight championship, then so much the better."

The championship kicks off on Tuesday in Busan, with Korea Republic playing Hong Kong on Wednesday followed by China (December 15) and Japan (December 18). China will face Japan in the tournament opener on Tuesday.

The women's championship will see Korea Republic playing China on Tuesday with Japan and Chinese Taipei the other teams in the competition.

Photos: AFP

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