Hong Myung-Bo

Hong Myung-Bo (born February 12, 1969 in Seoul) is a former South Korean footballer who, along with Cha Bum Kun, is often considered among the greatest Asian footballers ever. Hong was a member of the Korean national team in four World Cups, and was the first Asian player to play in four consecutive World Cup finals tournaments. He played as either a centre-back or at full-back. He retired from playing following the end of the 2004 Major League Soccer season, having finished his career with the Los Angeles Galaxy. He was chosen among the "FIFA 100", Pelé's selection of the 125 greatest living footballers in the world. He was also the recipient of the 2002 FIFA World Cup Bronze Ball. No other Asian player has yet achieved this feat.

Hong's first appearance at a World Cup final was at the 1990 World Cup in Italy. Hong played in all of Korea's matches against Belgium, Spain, and Uruguay, all three of which Korea lost.

Hong's individual talent was most notably showcased during the 1994 World Cup group stage. With Korea trailing 2–0 against Spain with only 5 minutes to go, Hong made the score 2–1 and shortly after he created the second for winger Seo Jung-Won to equalize the memorable match.

Hong's third appearance at World Cup was 1998 France World Cup. Hong played all three games of Korea against Mexico, Netherlands and Belgium. Korea got eliminated at the first round with 1 draw (Belgium) and 2 losses (Mexico and Netherlands).

Hong captained the Korean national team to a historic fourth place finish in the 2002 World Cup. He scored the winning penalty to secure a 5–3 shootout victory in the quarter final against Spain after a goalless draw. The Technical Study Group voted him as the third best player of the tournament (Bronze Ball award), the first ever Asian to be named in the top 3 players in a World Cup. Leader of the Korean defensive trio alongside Kim Tae-Young and Choi Jin-Cheul, he ended his international career after the 2002 World Cup as the all-time leader in appearances for the South Korean national team, with 135 caps.

On September 26, 2005, after retirement as a player, Hong returned to the national team as an assistant coach. Helping the manager Dick Advocaat, he took part in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, and worked with the next manager Pim Verbeek in the Asian Cup 2007. After the resign of Pim Verbeek, he was one of the candidates to become the next manager. The Korea Football Association announced, on 19 February 2009, it had appointed him as the South Korea national under-20 football team. Under his guidance the team reached the quarter finals of the tournament, but were eliminated due to a 2–3 defeat to Ghana national under-20 football team. He also served an assistant coach for under-23 football team under Park Seong-Hwa. Following Park resigned as head coach in October 2009, he took over the coaching duties at under-23 football team. He led his team into third place in the 2010 Asian Games. [source : Hong Myung Bo]

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