Costa Rica football coach expects tough friendly vs. S. Korea

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Goyang (South Korea), Sep 6 (IANS) Costa Rica’s football team’s interim coach Ronald Gonzalez said on Thursday he expects a tough match with South Korea even though the opponents are playing their first match under a new head coach.

Costa Rica will face South Korea at Goyang Stadium in Goyang, north of Seoul, on Friday. For South Korea, it will be their first match with new head coach Paulo Bento, reports Yonhap news agency.

Gonzalez said he analysed Bento’s football in the past and expects South Korea to play a 4-3-3 formation for an aggressive and quick style of play.

“I don’t know who is going to play tomorrow, but South Korea are not easy opponents,” he said.

“Even if their coach has changed, the players and their talents have not changed. Since they’ll also receive big support from home fans, it’s going to be an interesting match.”

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Gonzalez’s 23-man squad doesn’t have stars like Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas and Santos forward Bryan Luiz, but they still have nine players who represented Costa Rica at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

“We’re currently in the process of making plans for the 2022 FIFA World Cup,” he said. “Our squad right now is mixed with veterans and young talent.”

One of the Costa Rican players selected for the match is Elias Aguilar, who is with South Korean club Incheon United. Gonzalez said he has big expectations from the 26-year-old midfielder.

“Aguilar was a good prospect when he was in Costa Rica,” he said. “We’re tired from long travel, but I believe he is fresh because he plays in South Korea.”

Gonzalez said he was impressed by South Korea at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, especially the match against Germany, where the Taeguk Warriors collected a 2-0 win.

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“They were quick and aggressive in pressing,” he said. “I know many players who competed at the World Cup will play tomorrow, so we’ll try to come up with plans to stop them.”

Gonzalez said forward Son Heung-min will be the biggest threat for them. “Son knows how to penetrate. He’s got pace and shooting skills,” he said. “His attacking talent is great and will be a threat.”

Costa Rican defender Oscar Duarte, who will serve as captain for Friday’s match, said he is also aware of Son, but they will also watch out for other players.

–IANS

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