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Soccer: Paulo Bento appointed as South Korea head coach

In this June 15, 2014 file photo, Portugal's then head coach Paulo Bento attends a news conference the day before the Group G World Cup soccer match between Germany and Portugal, at the Arena Fonte Nova, in Salvador, Brazil. (AP Photo/Paulo Duarte)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- South Korea has appointed ex-Portugal manager Paulo Bento as head coach of the national team.

The 49-year-old Bento is charged with leading the national team to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and replaces Shin Tae-yong, who was not offered a new contract in July after South Korea's group-stage exit at the World Cup in Russia.

Bento, who started out in coaching with Sporting Lisbon, led Portugal to the semifinals of Euro 2012 but was fired after a disappointing 2014 World Cup and a poor start to qualification for Euro 2016.

He became available in July when he was fired by Chinese Super League club Chongqing Lifan.

"After reviewing his plans, we believe Bento is a coach who can develop South Korean football if we can support him for four years," Kim Pan-gon, the head of the Korea Football Association's Technical Committee, told a news conference Friday. "His results at Euro 2012 were very good and he is professional, charismatic, passionate and confident."

Bento was chosen over candidates on a shortlist that was reported to include Vahid Halilhodzic, who took Algeria to the second round of the 2014 World Cup, and Quique Sanchez Flores, a Spanish coach who has had stints at La Liga clubs Atletico Madrid and Valencia as well as Watford in the English Premier League.

Bento's first game in charge will be a home exhibition against Costa Rica on Sept. 7.

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