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Play it like it were the final: China's football team manager to his players against Japan

2021/9/8 11:56:08   source:CGTN

"Play this game like it were the final," said China's national football team manager Li Tie for his players set to counter Japan in FIFA World Cup qualification game on Tuesday. He was speaking during a pre-game press conference in Doha, Qatar on Monday.

China lost to Australia 3-0 in their first game of the tournament on September 2. The way they lost the game was even more painful than the result itself.

"It took our players days to walk out of the loss," said Li. "They are now well-prepared. I want them to play this game like it is the final and give their best performance on the field."

"Japan are the best team in Asia and I hope all of our players have the confidence to challenge them," said Li, who also pointed out that China had some problems on defense in the game against Australia. After days of adjusting, his team should do it better against Japan.

It has been 23 years since China beat Japan the last time.

Tuesday's game will still happen behind closed doors due to COVID-19. "There won't be any fans in the stadium, but I believe all fans in China will cheer for us in front of TV. It's a great opportunity to play against Japan. As long as our players give their best, there won't be any regrets," said Li.

China's captain Wu Xi attended the press conference as well. He said the team are ready to invest all of their strength in the game.

Though Japan are the top team in Asia, they were upset by Oman 1-0 in their first game. The team's manager Hajime Moriyasu revealed how depressed his players were but now they are all concentrating on the game against China. "We have a lot of players returning to Japan from Europe and now we came to Qatar. Both are very long flights. First they need to recover and then find their form back," said Moriyasu.

"We are fully aware that China are a strong and promising opponent. Their players have great individual abilities. But we're ready to win tomorrow." 

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