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Samba style set for China

By TANG ZHE | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2013-07-02 19:42

For fans of Chinese soccer who have been unimpressed with the fare served up of late, there's a chance for some happy memories at last — a match between Brazilian legends and the China soccer team's best generation.

The Brazilian side will feature stars including the "White Pele" Zico, Romario and Bebeto. Carlos Alberto, who captained Brazil to victory in the 1970 World Cup and was picked as a member of the World Team of the 20th Century, will take up the coaching role.

The Chinese side will be led by Serbian coach Bora Milutinovic, who took China to its only World Cup in 2002, and will be made up of former national team players, including Fan Zhiyi and Li Xiaopeng of the 2002 World Cup team.

The game is part of a series of activities to celebrate the 40th anniversary of China-Brazil diplomatic ties.

From July 26 to Aug 3, various cultural and sports activities will be held in China, including art performances, exhibitions and the soccer game between China and Brazil.

The celebration will move to Brazil in 2014, with a China cultural week to be held in the Samba kingdom, which will host the World Cup next summer.

Brazilian soccer star Kaka and Chinese pianist Lang Lang were named as China-Brazil cultural exchange ambassadors by the China International Culture Association at the launching ceremony of the celebration events on Tuesday.

"Brazil is a cradle of soccer stars, China is a huge country that boosts many ancient civilizations, the game between China and the Brazil legends will add a finishing touch to the whole celebration, and I hope it is a great success," said Xue Li, deputy head of the sport and culture development center of the General Administration of Sport of China.

While Brazil is a five-time World Cup champion, China has only made one appearance at tournament, in 2002, when it ended up with no wins and no goals.

Kaka was surprised when he found out China didn't qualify for the World Cup in Brazil, but he did remember Brazil's 4-0 win over China at the 2002 World Cup.

While he refused to offer any comments on China's 5-1 loss to Thailand and the sacking of national team coach Jose Antonio Camacho, Kaka said Brazil has many good coaches that are able to help Chinese soccer.

"You can easily name a long list of coaches in Brazil, if (China) needs, I believe they can help," he said.

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