High-stakes game for Camacho
Updated: 2013-03-20 23:41
By Chen Xiangfeng (China Daily)
Lippi to take over?
Even if Beckham, who was invited by Chinese Football Association to tour the country in a bid to improve soccer's image here, does somehow bring some good luck to Camacho and his team, it might not be enough to end fans' calls for the Spaniard's dismissal.
"China's third match in the Asian Cup qualifying will come in October, and that would provide a long break for the CFA to find a coaching replacement and for the newcomer to adjust the team and reshape players' form," fan Liu Bin said on leading portal sports.sina.com.
Some have even called for Italian Marcello Lippi, now coach of league champion Guangzhou Evergrande, to take over the national job and lead the team out of the doldrums.
Lippi will be at Friday night's game, but the Italian World Cup-winning coach insists he will be there only to watch the performances of his Guangzhou players.
New CFA boss Zhang Jian,Vice-President Yu Hongchen and sports Vice-Minister Cai Zhenhua will also be present.
Yu admits Iraq is a strong opponent, which beat China twice — home and away — in World Cup qualifying preliminary clashes.
"We have to fully prepare for this critical game," he said. "We know lots of people will turn their attention to this home game. I hope that will inspire the players to play their best."
Remaining group games (home team named first).
Oct 5: Indonesia vs China
Nov 15: China vs Indonesia
Nov 19: China vs Saudi Arabia
March 5, 2014: Iraq vs China