S. Korea coach hints at using multiple formations at World Cup

HWASEONG, South Korea– In South Korea’s final match before the FIFA World Cup on Friday, head coach Paulo Bento made a surprising tactical change.

Bento used a back-three setup against Iceland, the first time South Korea used this formation, with three center backs taking care of the defense, in more than three years.
Experimenting with a different formation is one thing, but doing so less than two weeks before the first World Cup match is quite another. That Bento did so without his best defender on hand also raised more than a few eyebrows.

Without offering details, Bento said he felt it was “a good moment to play with three at the back.”

“We practiced this during the training camp, and we also practiced with the line of four,” Bento said following South Korea’s 1-0 win at Hwaseong Sports Complex Main Stadium in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province. “Now, we should analyze the game and the training camp, and then we will decide which tactical system we will use in the World Cup. Most likely, we will not use just one. We’ll see.”

For this training camp, Bento only had players from the leagues in South Korea, China, Japan and the Middle East available. Since it didn’t coincide with the FIFA international match calendar, South Korea’s top players based in Europe weren’t available.

That group includes Kim Min-jae, the rock of a center back for Napoli in the top Italian league. It doesn’t seem wise to throw Kim into a back-three formation in Qatar when he hasn’t had any match experience with the national team for over three years.

“We don’t know how many times we’re going to use this tactical system in the World Cup. We will see in which situations we can use this, or if we’re going to use it,” Bento said. “We thought that was a very good opportunity to play with three center backs, in order to practice with them and with the wing backs as well.”

Bento is scheduled to announce his 26-man World Cup roster on Saturday in Seoul. When asked if Friday’s match made him change his mind on any players, the coach kept things close to the vest.

“We will analyze everything,” he said. “And tomorrow, we will announce the list after we have some conversations in order to take the best decision.”

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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