Departing South Korea boss Bento grateful for 'beautiful' World Cup
Paulo Bento has thanked South Korea's players for providing him with "one of the most beautiful experiences" of his life in their run to the knockout stage of Qatar 2022.
South Korea pulled off a late 2-1 win over Portugal in their final group game to reach the last 16, where they were heavily beaten 4-1 by Brazil.
Bento, appointed in 2018 as Shin Tae-yong's successor, announced immediately after that match he would not be renewing his contract with South Korea.
The Portuguese coach said a final farewell to supporters on Tuesday before flying back to his homeland.
"I am thankful to all the players, due to their professionalism, work ethic and their behaviour," Bento said.
"They gave me the opportunity to have one of the most beautiful experiences of my life, which I will never forget.
"Personally I have no words to thank you all for the respect, affection and support you showed during this amazing experience."
South Korea also drew 0-0 with Uruguay and lost 3-2 to Ghana in Group H, with their win over Portugal enough to see them through on goals scored.
It was the first time since 2010 that the Asian nation had made it past the first hurdle, though they were outclassed by Brazil in a one-sided last-16 tie.
The Taegeuk Warriors intend to name Bento's successor by February ahead of the next international break the following month.