Omar Alsoma (C) of Syria competes during the group A match between China and Syria of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2 in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, Nov. 14, 2019. (Photo by Santosh Harry/Xinhua)
Team China remain hopeful in their bid to qualify for the 2022 World Cup finals, aiming to adjust to a new direction and aided by the hiring of a new head coach
BEIJING, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Team China remain hopeful in their bid to qualify for the 2022 World Cup finals, aiming to adjust to a new direction and aided by the hiring of a new head coach.
Last month, China lost to Syria 2-1 in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Asian Zone qualification, which resulted in head coach Marcello Lippi quitting his job at the post-match press conference.
There remains a swell of negative feelings toward the Chinese national side since Lippi's resignation.
However, the management and the players need to move forward, and hopefully display a strong showing in the coming EAFF E-1 football Championship, a four-team international friendly event, in order to regain good momentum for the World Cup qualifiers.
China now sit in second place in the five-team Group A with seven points from four games, five points behind group leaders Syria.
Only the top team from each of the eight groups and the four best second-place finishers will advance, so the Chinese side are close to missing the final round of the Asian Zone qualifying. The primary goal for China remains to make the final 12 in the Asian Zone.
Although very unlikely, China still has the chance to advance as one of the best second-placed teams, if they can play well in the coming four matches including three games at home.
Marcello Lippi, former head coach of China's football team, reacts during a press conference before the group A match between China and Syria of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2 in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, Nov. 13, 2019. (Xinhua/Pan Yulong)
For the Chinese Football Association (CFA), its priority now is to summarize the problems and discuss its next steps, and to appoint a new head coach, who should be familiar with the CFA League and team members, and could set up suitable tactics for them.
In addition, a total of nine naturalized players have been registered at the CFA to bolster Chinese national team. Brazilian-born forward Elkeson or Ai Kesen, and Li Ke formerly known as Nico Yennaris had been named in China's national squad.
Many believe that naturalized players will be an important "X factor" in the team's quest for the Qatar World Cup. However, but the performance of the naturalized players has not met expectations so far.
There are worries that some naturalized players might give up Chinese citizenship in the future, which would cause great damage to Chinese football. Thankfully Chinese clubs recognize the importance of developing young domestic football talents.
Chen binbin (L) of China vies with Ignas Baranauskas of Lithuania during the CFA Team China International Football Tournament 2019 in Chongqing, southwest China, Nov. 17, 2019. (Xinhua/Huang Wei)
The CFA also pointed out that they will publish new regulations on naturalized players and foreign players by the end of the year, which aims to secure the healthy development of professional leagues and Chinese footballers and young players.
China has not qualified for the World Cup finals since its only appearance in 2002, when Bora Milutinovic's team lost all three games in South Korea against Costa Rica, Brazil and Turkey. ■