“I will defend the club’s honour and advancement but not for my personal sake.”

Hong Myungbo is no complete stranger to worldwide FIFA competitions.

As a gamer, the former sweeper figured plainly for Korea Republic in four FIFA World Cups ™ throughout 12 years, most notably captaining the Taegeuk Warriors to a historic fourth-place surface at Korea/Japan 2002. As a coach, he assisted the nationwide youth side to the last eight at the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup before taking the U-23 side to their very first bronze medal in the Olympic Football Tournament at London 2012.

Managing the nationwide team at Brazil 2014 – where his side finished winless – may be his last time to feature in a FIFA project. However, Hong announced his go back to the global scene when he was designated head coach of Ulsan Hyundai on Christmas Eve 2020 with the FIFA Club World Cup ™ in Qatar being his first job in charge.

Undoubtedly, Qatar 2020 marks Ulsan’s 2nd however Hong’s very first time at the club global showpiece. While Hong didn’t hide his ambitions of accomplishing the best result as a K-League side by improving Pohang Steelers’ third-place finish in the 2009 edition, the difficulties facing him can’t be undervalued: formidable challengers, high expectations, departures of the club’s top striker Brazilian forward Junior Negrao and veteran Lee Keunho and more and the tight time to prepare the group.

Throughout his career, Hong has cut a steely figure and is understood as a victor having defied all sorts of chances. Will he emulate his previous tasks with Ulsan this time around? FIFA.com took a seat with the 51-year-old to get his thoughts ahead of their opener against Tigres UANL.