Soccer-South Korea coach Bento slams ‘worst performance’ in loss to UAE

World Cup - Asian Qualifiers - Group A - United Arab Emirates v South Korea
Soccer Football - World Cup - Asian Qualifiers - Group A - United Arab Emirates v South Korea - Al-Maktoum Stadium, Dubai, United Arab Emirates - March 29, 2022 South Korea coach Paulo Bento REUTERS/Stringer

March 30, 2022

(Reuters) – South Korea head coach Paulo Bento said the team produced their “worst performance” in Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat by the United Arab Emirates, which saw them finish second in their World Cup qualifying group.

Bento’s side, who had already qualified for the World Cup, ended second in Group A on 23 points. Iran beat Lebanon 2-0 to leapfrog the Koreans and finish top on 25 points.

UAE’s Hareb Abdalla scored in the 54th minute in Dubai, handing the Koreans their only defeat of the qualifying phase.

“What we did today was the worst performance we’ve had,” coach Bento told reporters after the match. “We should be disappointed with more than the result, with the performance and with the attitude.

“After winning the previous game and getting the first position, and losing the first position in the next game, competing and playing as we did … For me, it’s not normal.”

The Koreans had beaten Iran 2-0 last week and Bento said he wanted the team to compete as they did in that game.

“I think that all of us should think about what we did today and what we want to do in the future,” he added.

“If we want to compete like today or like five days ago.”

The World Cup draw is set to be held in Doha on Friday. The showpiece tournament will be played from Nov. 21-Dec. 18.

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)