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China Blessed With Easy World Cup Qualifying Group; Bound to Find a Way to Screw It Up

rain pours down as china celebrates a goal

rain pours down as china celebrates a goalOn Saturday, the draw was made for 2014 World Cup Qualifying and for all those fans of Chinese soccer who feel there is no God, well, they’re now finding religion.

You may have noticed we failed to discuss the second leg of China vs. Laos.  That’s because there are few things I could care less about.  In the pantheon of things I care about, it falls somewhere between cricket and Justin Bieber’s hair, meaning it’s not making the top 100.  China was always going to beat Laos.  China’s blind footballers could probably beat Laos and they only allow 5 men on the pitch. Plus, you know, they’re blind.  Suffice to say, China’s leg two 6-0 drubbing of Laos was no surprise and meant the team won 13-2 on aggregate, advancing to the next round of qualification.

Those two matches, however, were an important means to an end, meaning China advanced to the next round of qualification.  For the 20 Asian teams that qualified, each were placed in 4 bowls based on their FIFA rankings, meaning China was in the first bowl (they are the fifth highest ranked Asian team).  We can talk about the ludacriousness of FIFA rankings that sees North Korea in bowl 4 solely because they can’t don’t play any friendlies.  The first bowl was the final one to be chosen from and the CCTV-5 pundits were openly hoping China would be the first team drawn, they got their wish.  China is in Group A, which looks like this:

  1. China PR
  2. Jordan
  3. Iraq
  4. Singapore

In the 3rd round, the top two teams in each group advance to a further group stage where the 10 teams are divided into two groups, the top two sides in each group go to Brazil 2014, the two 3rd place sides play each other with the winner going on to a playoff against another confederation for a spot at the World Cup.

The other groups are as follows:

Group B Group C Group D Group E
South Korea Japan Australia Iran
Kuwait Uzbekistan Saudia Arabia Qatar
UAE Syria Oman Bahrain
Lebanon North Korea Thailand Indonesia

From the looks of things, Group C is the obvious “Group of Death”, North Korea is most certainly not a “bowl 4” team and Uzbekistan showed their quality at the last Asian Cup.  Of all the options, Group D wouldn’t have been a bad place for China to have fallen into, but, all things considered, they are in arguably the easiest group and should have a pretty clear cut path to advancing to the next round.  That said, if anyone can screw it up, China could find a way to.

Here’s the schedule of China’s qualifiers, you’ll be sure to find more about them as we get closer to the matches:

Date Home Away
9/2/2011 China Singapore
9/6/2011 Jordan China
10/11/2011 China Iraq
11/11/2011 Iraq China
11/15/2011 Singapore China
2/29/2012 China Jordan

Good luck to Team China, I hope to be spending the summer of 2014 watching them in Brazil!  Tomorrow, we’ll talk about China’s coaching uncertainty going into qualifying.

Brandon Chemers aka B. Cheng aka A Modern Lei Feng – is a name which may be familiar to many in the Chinese blogosphere. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for Wild East Football and is one of the lonely souls writing about Chinese football in English for the last 10 years. Chemers' credentials are second to none – his former blog focused not only on the fortunes of his beloved Beijing Guoan FC, but a multitude of other aspects of Beijing life. He’s deservedly built a reputation in the Chinese blogosphere as an insightful observer of not only Chinese football, but also the wider picture of life in modern China and its many layers. For WEF, beyond writing about Guoan, he often focuses on fan culture and the business of Chinese football.



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