South Korea has named Hong Myung-bo as the head coach of the national soccer team for the second time

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Hong Myung-bo answers the media questions

On Sunday, Hong Myung-bo was appointed as South Korea’s head coach, giving the nation’s 2002 World Cup hero another chance at the top role.

Hong takes over from Jurgen Klinsmann and returns to a position he left in July 2014 following a disappointing World Cup campaign.

He captained the South Korean team that reached the World Cup semifinals in 2002, when the tournament was co-hosted by South Korea and Japan.

The 55-year-old Hong will immediately leave Ulsan HD after guiding them to back-to-back K-League championships in 2022 and 2023.

“The ability to unify the team is ultimately the most crucial aspect,” said Korea Football Association (KFA) President Chung Mong-gyu in a statement announcing the appointment. “The coaching staff will handle the tactical side.”

Hong Myung-bo waits ahead of the second leg of the AFC Champions League semifinal

The KFA’s five-month search concluded with Hong’s appointment, prompted by Klinsmann’s dismissal in February after a disappointing Asian Cup.

American coach Jesse Marsch was initially favored but accepted a role with Canada in May. Other candidates reportedly considered included David Wagner, recently released by Norwich City, and former Greece boss Gus Poyet.

Hong, who guided South Korea’s Under-23 team to a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics, initially seemed out of contention after a recent K-League match. Now, he has two months to prepare for the start of the 2026 World Cup qualification third round.

South Korea begins against Palestine on Sept. 5, followed by matches against Jordan, Oman, Kuwait, and Iraq in Group B.


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