China captain Zheng Zhi said the tackle which broke Djibril Cisse's leg and ruled the France striker out of the World Cup finals was a fair challenge.
Djibril Cisse of France cries out in pain after being tackled by China's Zheng Zhi during a friendly international soccer match at the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium in Saint Etienne, France June 7, 2006. [Reuters]
Cisse fractured his right leg after being tackled by the Shandong Luneng defender in the 10th minute of France's 3-1 victory over China in St Etienne on Wednesday night.
"I was taking advantage of my position and engaged with him bodily but I didn't expect Cisse to be injured after he fell to the ground," Zheng told news agency Xinhua.
"Football matches are just like this. Every professional player could be injured on the pitch."
Zheng, who later scored China's goal from the penalty spot, was joined by his coach Zhu Guanghu in regretting the injury to the Liverpool forward.
"One of the Chinese team's purposes for this match is to the French team warm up for a better performance in the World Cup, so our players played within the rules throughout the match," he said.
France fly to Germany for the World Cup finals on Thursday and play their opening Group G match against Switzerland in Stuttgart next Tuesday.