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China coach eyes high-level friendlies before WC qualifying final round

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-06-16 14:04
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China coach Li Tie is seen at a post-match press conference in Sharjah, UAE on June 15, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates -- After beating Syria 3-1 on Tuesday to reach the final round of 2022 FIFA World Cup Asian Zone qualifiers, China expects to play some high-level friendlies before September.

"Only by playing against strong teams can we really improve ourselves," China coach Li Tie told a post-match press conference.

"It was not an easy game. I was pleased with all the players for their spirit and tenacity. They controlled the game most of the time and created many chances. I would have been happier if it had been 2-0," Li said, adding that the win was a gift to the players injured in previous matches and to all the fans.

Talking about China's defensive mistake in the second half which resulted in conceding a goal, Li said, "Syria is a strong team and we didn't play at such a high level for quite a long time."

"We must play more high-quality matches," he noted.

Midfielder Zhang Xizhe, who opened the scoring with a diagonal shot in the 42nd minute, was named the player of the match.

"We played a very good game," said Zhang.

The final round of the Asian qualifying tournament will start in September with 12 teams: Syria, Australia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, South Korea, China, Oman, Iraq, Vietnam and Lebanon. 

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