World Cup miracle beckons for China

Updated 2017-09-05 14:30:42

China may have kept alive their hopes of qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup with the morale-boosting win over Uzbekistan on Matchday Nine but they will still need to beat Qatar on Tuesday and hope other results go their way if they are to clinch third place in Group A and the resultant play-off spot.

The Qataris, on the other hand, are out of contention for a place in next year's Finals after their 3-1 defeat to Syria and only have pride to play for at Khalifa Stadium after a campaign that has yielded just two wins.

In Marcello Lippi's first competitive game in charge, China and Qatar played out a frustrating 0-0 draw in Kunming last November in what was only their second point in Group A.

But this time around, China will need to win by a sizeable margin and hope Syria and Uzbekistan lose to the Islamic Republic of Iran and Korea Republic respectively if they are to have any chance of progressing.

China have shown steady progress under Lippi, with Thursday's 1-0 victory over Uzbekistan making it two wins and two draws in the five games the Italian has been at the helm. One last huge effort is now needed if they are to have any chance of reaching a second FIFA World Cup Finals.

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