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Cheng: After China's two wins, it's time to get on the Perrin bandwagon - Wild East Football
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China National Team

Cheng: After China’s two wins, it’s time to get on the Perrin bandwagon

For months, I’ve had an article on the back burner criticizing Alain Perrin for his management of the national team, but have never been able to pull the trigger.

Odd moves like bringing in over the hill players like Han Peng and leaving out young stars like Zhang Xizhe and Yu Dabao have kept me scratching my head trying to figure out what Perrin was thinking. While the results have, for the most part, been alright, there was always the expectation his squad was being mismanaged and would go to Australia and be back after three matches. Thankfully, shockingly, crazily, or whatever other word you want to use, that isn’t the case and for the first time since 2004, China’s headed out of the group stage.

Perrin’s final roster includes plenty of surprises, but he’s kept the team young and  given chances to a lot of up and comers. Veterans Hao Junmin and Zheng Zhi have been brought back into the fold and rewarded the manager for his faith in them, serving as leaders on the pitch. Most of all, there’s a fighting spirit amongst the players that hasn’t been seen since the Gao Hongbo era. Perhaps its because of the lows the team was at going into this tournament and the domestic media (wrongly) talking about China’s “group of death”, but Perrin’s squad didn’t have any pressure going into the tournament and it’s been refreshing to watch.

It’s too early to make broad predictions about China finally turning things around or to get too excited about the future, Arie Haan took China to the finals in 2004 and then failed to do much else, but let’s just sit back and enjoy the next few weeks. With the way China is playing so far, anything is possible, so enjoy while it lasts.

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.



  1. Da_greitist

    15/01/2015 at 21:21

    But isn’t Gao lin in an active offside position when the long ball missed by Nestarov was kicked?

    • Yiddo Huayi

      17/01/2015 at 09:59

      No. At the time of Jiang Zhipeng’s cross from the left Gao is slightly offside but not interfering with play. The ball is collected by Zheng Chengdong and at the time he plays the ball back into Gao Lin, an Uzbek defender has moved towards the goal line.

  2. Yiddo Huayi

    17/01/2015 at 09:43

    My question – would Gao Hongbo have got this far?

    I think so.

    I’m still not quite there re Perrin. I think he should have started Hao Junmin against Uzbek and I couldn’t see his 3-4-2 (wide) -1 (leave Gao Lin isolated all 1st half with bugger all service) formation being anything but a liability in the first half.

    Certainly the team has developed a mental toughness, but I still think they have a way to go in terms of smart decisions and passing to set up goals or overlaps in the final third.

    • Cameron Wilson

      19/01/2015 at 09:16

      Interesting question. I think I would agree he would have gotten this far, and he would also have had a couple of years more time developing the squad under his belt also, rather than the horror show that was the Camacho period.

      • Yiddo Huayi

        19/01/2015 at 10:00

        So true!

        Regardless of if Perrin is a good/great/adequate gaffer or not, he has to be given credit for:

        a) Not being Camacho
        b) Bringing in a balance of youth and experience
        c) Not being afraid to experiment with positions for a while (but maybe he can stop now)
        d) Not being Camacho

        “The Fall and Rise of Alain Perrin” anyone?

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