China suffered a disappointing defeat at the hands of Jordan last night, manager Jose Antonio Camacho’s first loss in charge of the national side. The team looked slightly improved from their performance a few days ago against Singapore, but the result leaves fans nervous about the matches to come.
China came out looking much stronger last night, attacking early and almost going one up a few times in the first 20 minutes, the manager’s decision to start Hao Junmin looked to be the right one. However, the match settled down and Jordan did a good job on the counterattack. The first half ended scoreless with China looking improved, but still not very strong despite an opponent that was ripe for the pickenings.
Things turned bad less than 5 minutes into the second half when Jordan scored off a beautiful long shot that stunned China. Then a few short minutes later, it got even worse when they went up by two after Li Weifeng whiffed on the ball and two other defenders were out of place. 2-0 down, China didn’t give up and Hao pulled one back moments after play was restarted.
With over a half hour to get an equalizer, it looked like China could pull out a result, but in the end they were unable to earn a point. An unfortunate loss, making the upcoming home games all the more important. Fortunately, Camacho has over a month to get his house in order, take a closer look at some players and learn about his team, and prepare for the next two matches.
While some on the interwebz have been jumping out to criticize Camacho, his coaching strategies appeared solid, it was a matter of his players not performing. Much of the problem is a longterm holdover in Chinese football, the Chinese players are composed and excellent when wearing a club team shirt, but the moment they put on the national team’s red and white, they go to shit. Players out of position, missing easy chances, and reverting to longball were all issues last night (and against Singapore). The national team doesn’t need a change in coaching, it needs a psychologist! If Camacho is going to bring success to China, he’ll have to get past these mental issues/errors that the team tends to have.
For the next go around in October, China should have a few more players healthy, including striker Gao Lin, which may help the cause. Seeing how Hao played last night, he should remain on that side. The big question for Camacho is what he does down the middle, central defender, center mid, and striker. Camacho named Li the captain, it would be surprising to find Li not in the lineup the next time around, though perhaps he goes with a different starter. In the middle, Huang Bowen, Zhao Xuri, and Chen Tao have all looked mediocre, if a healthy Deng Zhuoxiang can come back paired with Yang Hao this could help.
Team W D L GF GA Points Jordan 2 0 0 4 1 6 China 1 0 1 3 2 3 Iraq 1 0 1 2 2 3 S'pore 0 0 2 1 4 0
That table doesn’t paint a pretty picture, China only needs to finish second, but it’s going to be an uphill battle, their clas against Iraq next month is going to be crucial in deciding who goes through in this group.
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