What the hell is happening with the Chinese national football team? A mere month after a humiliating 5-1 defeat to Thailand led to the sacking of coach José Camacho the team have finished the East Asian Cup in second place.
Japan, which used a 91st-minute goal to edge South Korea 2-1 in the nightcap, won the tournament. (If South Korea had held on for the draw, we would have tallied up Japan and China’s yellow and red cards received to determine the champ.) But in many ways, China won, too. The East Asian Cup was a chance for a clean start, a low-expectation tournament in which younger players could prove they deserved larger roles on the national team. They may have done themselves one better: convinced fans back home, just possibly, that the national soccer program has a future.