SEOUL, Dec. 3 (Yonhap) -- President Yoon Suk-yeol had separate phone talks Saturday with the South Korean national team's head coach Paulo Bento and captain Son Heung-min after the 2-1 victory over Portugal to advance to the round of 16, his spokesperson said.
In a call with Bento, Yoon highlighted the coach's leadership that he thought has bound players together and led to the victory, according to deputy presidential spokesperson Lee Jae-myoung in a written press briefing.
"It was very moving to see our team trying their utmost until the end," Yoon was quoted by Lee as saying. "Having looked at interview remarks by players, I learned their respect for coach Bento is really great."
Bento appreciated Yoon having called him, and vowed to continue the endeavors to give South Korean citizens "happiness and joy," according to Lee.
Yoon also said that football has "strong energy" that brings people together as seen in South Korean citizens cheering for the national team and rejoicing at the victory into the wee hours. He then thanked the coach for "giving our citizens such a big present."
In talks with Son, Yoon talked about his concerns over Son's surgically repaired face.
Son was quoted as saying in turn, "I am making preparations well with the thought that I will dedicate myself to the nation."
Yoon also asked Son to deliver his appreciation to the national team for giving "great solace, hope and joy" to Korean citizens.