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China v. Germany int’l game at Shanghai Stadium tomorrow

Saving face will be the goal of China’s much-maligned international football team as it hosts Germany in a friendly international football tomorrow evening at Shanghai Stadium.

Manchester United PLC lost 2-0 to Barcelona in an unremarkable Champions League final last night – a game which signifies the domestic football season in Europe is nearly over. However with the German FA cup final between Bayer Leverkusen and Werder Bremen still to come on Saturday, and national team captain Michael Ballack playing for Chelsea in the English FA cup final on the same day, coach Joachim has been forced to bring an understrength side full of promising youngsters.

Theoretically, this makes it easier for China to come up with a decent result. In reality however, it will likely end up compounding China’s embarrasment should they be defeated heavily. Fringe players in the Germany squad will be eager to impress Loew with a view to being international regulars for the World Cup in South Africa one year from now.

The match represents a challenging first game in charge for new China manager Gao Hongbo. The 45-year-old Beijinger made a name for himself in Chinese football by leading unfancied Changchun to the 2007 Chinese Super League title. With China already out of the running for the World Cup, he’ll be eager to assess his charges and start building his squad for qualification for the Asian Cup in 2011.

Tomorrow night’s game kicks off at 8 at Shanghai Stadium, which is 80,000 capacity and won’t be sold out. Wait until just before kick-off before buying a ticket from scalpers outside the ground. Don’t pay more than 50rmb regardless of the face value of the ticket.

This post was originally published on Shanghaiist.

A leading international commentator on Chinese football frequently quoted by the world's top media. Offers piercing and resolutely honest insights into the bustling crossroads where football, society, economics and politics meet in contemporary China. Based in Shanghai since 2005, observer of the Chinese game since 2000.

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