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China Wins in Friendly, So What? Who Cares!

chinese players celebrate a goal

China beat the United Arab Emirates 2-1 in a friendly last night, but here on that’s about all you’ll find out about the match.  I can tell you that Sun Xiang and Gao Lin were your goal scorers with two first half goals and that the UAE got their goal late in the 2nd half after China made a number of substitutions.  I didn’t watch the game, like most Chinese with brains or means, I got the hell out of China during the National Day holiday and was instead sitting in the Tokyo Dome enjoying the madness that is Japanese baseball.

Friendlies don’t mean anything, if China lost this match, I wouldn’t care, since they won, I don’t care too.  What it all comes down to is what China can do against Iraq in a crucial World Cup Qualifying match in Shenzhen on October 11th.  China currently sits tied with Iraq, both teams having won once and lost once.  With China knowing they then have to go away to Iraq and Singapore, picking up maximum points at home could be the difference between life and death in the group.

Jose Antonio Camacho’s lineup was very unusual last night, leaving one to wonder what his plans are against Iraq on the 11th.  A number of changes were made from the sides that faced Singapore and Jordan, leaving us wondering if he was just taking a look at a few players he hadn’t seen much of before like Huang Bowen, Feng Renliang, Yu Hanchao, and Wu Xi or if he really intends on shaking up the lineup.  Camacho has already shown he has no loyalty to stars like Yang Hao and Yu Hai who emerged under Gao’s reign, he wants to form “his” team.  The move appears to be hubris on the part of the foreign manager, but if it pays off all will be forgiven.

For a little perspective, this was only Camacho’s third game in charge of Team China, and his first chance to watch his players in a friendly match.   Don’t put too much (or any) weight on last night’s victory, Iraq will be a much stronger opponent and Camacho’s going to need a lot more from his charges.  If he goes with Chen Tao, Gao Lin, and Feng as is likely, hopefully we’ll finally see why Camacho has chosen to place so much confidence in these individuals instead of having to once again play the “what if” game.

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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