Host overcomes early setbacks to rout Laos
Updated: 2011-07-24 06:05
China started its 2014 World Cup qualifiers in roller-coaster fashion by reversing a two-goal deficit for a 7-2 victory against minnow Laos in Kunming, Yunnan province, on Saturday.
The home side, which is ranked 75th on FIFA's world list, was expected to waltz to a convincing win. However, Souk Aphone Vongchiengkham and Visay Phaphouvanin gave the 174th-ranked Laos a two-goal lead within 32 minutes.
China's World Cup squad, which appeared in danger of emulating the country's Under-23 Olympic line-up, which suffered an early knockout by losing to Oman 4-1 on aggregate in June, managed to score seven goals in a row to seal a 7-2 victory on home soil.
"Today's first half is the worst one of my tenure, I will discuss the team's performance in the first 45 minutes with the players and the coaching team," said Chinese coach Gao Hongbo, who was suspended for one international game by the Asian Football Confederation after antagonizing the referee during the Qatar Asian Cup in January, and had to watch the game from the stands.
"Our players played hard on the pitch and, as the coach, I should take full responsibility for not being fully prepared with the details," said the 45-year-old. "We still have an away game on the way, and we will summarize this game as soon as possible to avoid getting into any bad situations like the first half of this game in the future."
"China failed to claim a berth in the round-of-10 matches (World Cup, Asian Zone qualifying) at the past two tournaments, we do not deserve this result since the domestic leagues have been professional for so many years," he said. "This time we should not only make the round-of-10 games, but also advance further."
Earlier this month, Chinese Football Association (CFA) chief Wei Di confirmed the association was seeking a world-class coach for the national lineup after signing a deal with Dalian Wanda. Gao refused to comment on the situation after the game.
The two sides will play their second game in Vientiane, the capital city of Laos, on Thursday with the winner moving on to the round-of-20 matches, which kick off on Sept 20.
(China Daily 07/24/2011 page7)
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