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China rides luck to advance in World Cup

Updated: 2015-06-17 07:47
By Agencies (China Daily)

China' s 2-2 draw with New Zealand ensured it a berth in the round of 16 at the FIFA Women' s World Cup and delighted the soccer-mad country.

In the 42nd minute, New Zealand's Betsy Hassett was called for a hand ball in the penalty area and China evened the score at 1-1 through the disputed penalty kick.

On Hupu, one of the largest Internet portals in China, users thought luck played an important part in the victory but that the Chinese women also deserved it.

"Contingency always come in nowadays in soccer games, the Chinese players can' t be blamed for the disputed penalty. As we all know, hosts Canada stole a victory from us in the opening match of the World Cup, I' d like to take the 'luck' as repayment from the organizing committee," a netizen named "boiled water" said.

When Chinese coach Hao Wei was sent from the sidelines by the referee before the final whistle, a Sina Weibo user said Hao just lost his balance and did not intentionally delay the game. After the match, New Zealand coach Tony Readings refused to shake hands with Hao, which was thought to be poor sportsmanship by Chinese netizens.

Net user "elekhfent" said, "No handshake. Well we Chinese are going to be in the last 16 while the impolite coach's team will go home."

China will take on either Switzerland or Cameroon in the round of 16.

Meanwhile, Readings defended his decision not to shake hands with his Chinese counterpart.

"It's just something I don't agree with," Readings said of Hao's actions.

"I would never go out of my way to do that to an opposition player.

"You have just got to let the players on the pitch do the business. While we want to influence things we should be back stage, not on stage."

Replays of the incident are inconclusive, with Hao appearing to be off balance as he fell into Ria Percival after he had jumped in the air to stop the ball from going further out of play.

Percival could not gather the ball and immediately complained about what she thought was interference.

Hungarian referee Katalin Kulcsar sent the coach to the stands but he took his time leaving the field of play, no doubt increasing the frustration the New Zealand side felt as China's players slowed the game down in the final few minutes.

Readings, who has been both criticized and commended in New Zealand, was also frustrated at the penalty decision against Hassett in a match the Football Ferns needed to win to advance to the knockout phase for the first time.

Television replays showed the ball had hit Hassett in the chest and was nowhere near her hands.

"Football is such a close game; a referee decision or a ball bouncing the wrong way can make all the difference," Readings said. "But we need to be better so that these things go in our favor."

Despite his team's group stage exit, Readings was confident the campaign would only aid his side ahead of next year's Rio Olympics.

China rides luck to advance in World Cup

China head coach Hao Wei gives a thumbs up to supporters after being ordered off the pitch on Monday. John Woods / AP

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