By Benjamin Cost
The Chinese national team’s elation from its 4-0 thrashing of Singapore yesterday was quickly dampened by news that Iraq had edged out Jordan in Group A, dashing China’s hopes of qualifying for the 2014 Brazilian World Cup.
At least China’s players didn’t go down without a fight (a fight they thought they had won, nonetheless):
China dominated play from the beginning and Yu Hai opened the scoring three minutes from the interval.
Singapore’s best chance came when veteran striker Aleksandar Duric hit the crossbar in the 53rd minute. China quickly responded with captain Li Weifeng scoring with a header from a corner in the 56th minute.
China played with just 10 players from the 67th minute after Huang Bowen was sent off for taking a swing at Singapore’s Mustafic Fahrudin.
However, China continued to control the game as defender Zheng Zheng finished the scoring with goals in the 73rd and 82nd minutes.
A valiant effort, but not enough to accomplish their World Cup goal, and certainly not worthy of their dismayed fans, who have all but lost faith in Chinese soccer due to the ball club’s recent plague of fights, match-fixing, and general corruption.
Team star Zhang Peiliang frustratedly exclaimed, “We lost out on a ticket for the 2014 World Cup even though we have famous Spanish coach Jose Antonio Camacho. The result cannot be accepted by depressed fans. Who knows when the next time will be for China’s soccer team to play in the World Cup.”
Apparently it will take a lot more than a grizzled Spanish veteran of the game (whose last few coaching seasons have proved less than spectacular, we might add) to breathe life into the ball club’s increasingly deflated soccer ball of a dream.
We just hope that last month’s trouncing of Chinese kids by Russian youths in a friendly soccer match didn’t jinx the national team for life.
Better luck next season, guys. Uh, oh wait…there is no “next season”, it’s the World Cup. Nevermind.