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Paulo Bento names and explains his South Korea national team squad for 2022 Qatar World Cup

South Korean national team boss Paulo Bento has named his 26-man squad for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Captain Son Heung-min is in despite recently having surgery for a facial fracture, Lee Kang-in is included, as too a couple of surprises such as Yoon Jong-gyu of FC Seoul who is one of five full backs. Suwon Bluewings' Oh Hyeon-gyu will be travelling with the squad to take part in training and as a backup in case of injury.

During a live press conference on Saturday at 2 PM, Paulo Bento fielded questions about his team selection ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. 

There are three goalkeepers, nine defenders including five full backs, two out-and-out strikers and

Paulo Bento Press Conference

"These are the 26 players we selected for the World Cup. Before I answer your questions I would just like to say that we have another player that will go with us to Qatar, that is Oh Hyeon-gyu (Suwon Bluewings). He is not in the list, are already talked with him, we explained the situation. He's going to Qatar to make part of the group, training with the team. If everything goes well as we expect and as we wish, he will stay out of the list in case something happens with some player that is connected with his position he will be in the final list."

On Son Heung-min being able to train, could Lee Kang-in be his replacement?

"So, regarding the Son situation we are in contact with him and with the Tottenham medical department but about the exact time, the exact day he can train with the team we don't have that information yet so we need to wait, we need to analyze day by day his situation we have time to decide and the most important that he recovers as well as possible - he feels comfortable and we will take the decision, the final decision. Regarding the second question, the call up of Lee Kang-in is not linked with the Son situation."

On whether Oh Hyeon-gyu's inclusion is related to Son's injury

"Yes, in that case, it 's also because of that, not just because of that but also because of that."

On Lee Kang-in's call up him

"The technical quality is a strong point. This season he improved certain things if we compare with the last one so that's why he is in the list. Regarding the moment we are going to use him, I could not say in this moment. In the games we will see what will happen, I can not predict what is going to happen in the World Cup. Even less I can not predict what will happen during the games, not just since the beginning but during the games."

On Oh Hyeon-gyu's strengths

"He's a player with good technique. Physically strong with good mobility, fast, strong in the duels so he's a player that we observed, of course, that's why we brought him for this training camp, for the last training camp. What we observed in our context makes us take this decision."

On Yoon Jong-gyu and Song Min-kyu's good points and why they're in the squad

"So, I'm not going to analyze all the players individually. So, you check the games as well, you should know which points or which good points they have so our idea is not to analyze the individual features, the individual characteristics - it's how they integrate with the team or how they can integrate with the team in the collective way, in the tactical aspects. It's not just if he is good technically or not, it's more than that. Song Min-kyu was with us before, recently he was not with us I mean in September. In some moments he was not lucky because some physical problems but if he finished the season well and what he showed in the training camp not just in yesterday's game, but what he showed in the training camp was more than enough for us to take the decision to call him and (Yoon) Jong-gyu is more or less the same situation."

On Kim Jin-su's situation and calling up five full backs:

"We need more information about his injury. We should control his injury in the right way. It's not an easy problem, we don't have too much time from now. As I told on Thursday, he didn't make any collective training sessions - just individual training sessions. We must talk with our medical department in order to see how he is in this moment [and] how or when we can integrate him into the collective training sessions but we will see. To be honest, the questions about the five lateral backs is not just related to (Kim) Jin-su's injury, its an idea that we already had to call up five lateral backs. Two of them being able to play on the left side as well (as right) and [so] was one of the reasons to call up five, it's also because two can play on the left and not just because of Jin-su's situation."

On Um Won-sang's omission:

"All the moments are important to take the best decisions so he's one of the players who is out, he's not the only one. All the players that got out of the team, I mean players who were with us in this training camp, we talked with them. It's part of football we just can call up 26 players, our option was to call up four wingers. We have two more players who can play as a winger, different features, different characteristics - it depends what we want for each game and for the moments of the games so we think that is enough and that's why we took this option." 

On which decision he made last and needed to think about, which players were hard to tell they weren't going to the World Cup:

"I think I already said, we gave the list today in order [for us] to spend as much time as we can collecting all the information (on the players). We observe and we check as much as we can so that's what we did and, of course, in certain positions, we had some doubts because the performance of the players were good and we needed to decide just in the last moment. Regarding if it was one specific player that I feel a little bit bad because I didn't call him, not a specific one to be honest. Yesterday after the game, when we talked with the players that we list it was a bad moment. It was not good for us, of course for all of them also not. Like I said before, it's part of this game. They knew since the beginning that not all of them would be selected. I'm sure that I was honest with them, fair - I tried to be but fo course I don't know if I was fair with all of them."

On whether Park Ji-soo would have gone if he wasn't injured and what he said to him:

"There was possibilities, there was and I already talked with him. What I talked with him will stay between him and me." 

On what he thinks about other squad announcements that game out before Korea's today and whether they affected his decisions:

"I didn't need to know the call-ups of the opponents, the exact call-ups to know how good they are and how strong they are. Any call-ups of Portugal, Uruguay, Ghana will be strong call-ups. They will show a strong team with different styles, different styles of playing but all of them with very good players, players that most part of them are playing in the high level competitions. All of them, the most part of them, are playing in the best leagues around the world, many many or most of them also play in the best teams of the best leagues so our goal doesn't change because already know the call-up in this moment. Our goal is clear, we compete as well as possible, we compete as well as possible to achieve the best results. I already said before, even competing with the high-level performance from our side, we are going to feel many many difficulties because on the other side are very good and strong teams."

On what happens next and what the aims are:

"The World Cup is being prepared for long time ago, in different points so certain things that we already made before like the inspections and the other aspects that we took care of and now, of course, the main goal is to prepare the team as well as possible. After arriving in Qatar, focusing on the first game that is the most important. Until we can have normal training sessions after the first game there will be time to recover and play again so the goal is this, prepare the team in the right way to face the strong opponents that we must face and choose the strategies for each game even if we think that the focus from now should be in the first game."

On whether he's more excited or worried heading into the World Cup:

"I think that the last feeling we should have is concern. To play the World Cup... if you are concerned we are going to play the World Cup imagine how you should be if you don't play. So, concern no. I am happy because we reached the main goal, the main reason to come here was to help the team in order to be qualified for the World Cup. We achieved that and now it's [time to] be professional, be humble and enjoy the biggest competition if we talk bout national team competitions.

Source: KFA YouTube


Full List


Kim Seung-gyu (Al-Shabab) - 67 caps
Jo Hyeon-woo (Ulsan Hyundai) - 22 caps
Song Bum Keun (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors) - 1 cap


Kim Young-gwon (Ulsan Hyundai) - 96 caps, 6 goals
Kim Jin-su (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors) - 61 caps, 2 goals
Hong Chul (Daegu FC) - 46 caps, 1 goal
Kim Min-jae (SC Napoli) - 44 caps, 3 goals
Kwon Kyung-won (Gamba Osaka) - 28 caps, 2 goals
Kim Moon-hwan (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors) - 22 caps
Kim Tae-hwan (Ulsan Hyundai) - 19 caps
Cho Yu-min (Daejeon Hana Citizen) - 4 caps
Yoon Jong-gyu (FC Seoul) - 4 caps


Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur) - 104 caps, 35 goals
Jung Woo-young (Al-Sadd) - 66 caps, 3 goals
Lee Jae-sung (1. FSV Mainz 05) - 64 caps, 9 goals
Hwang Hee-chan (Wolverhampton Wanderers) - 49 caps, 9 goals
Kwon Chang-hoon (Gimcheon Sangmu) - 42 caps, 12 goals
Hwang In-beom (Olympiacos) - 34 caps, 4 goals
Na Sang-ho (FC Seoul) - 24 caps, 2 goals
Son Jun-ho (Shandong Taishan) - 15 caps
Paik Seung-ho (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors) - 14 caps, 2 goals
Song Min-kyu (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors) - 13 caps, 1 goal
Jeong Woo-young (SC Freiburg) - 9 caps, 2 goals
Lee Kang-in (Real Mallorca) - 6 caps


Hwang Ui-jo (Olympiacos) - 49 caps, 16 goals
Cho Gue-sung (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors) - 16 caps, 4 goals

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