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China head coach Li confident on remaining World Cup qualifiers******
SHANGHAI, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) -- China's national football team is set to travel on Sunday for the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers in Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates.。
Due to strict COVID-19 restrictions, the two games, which were scheduled to be played at home against Oman on November 11 and Australia five days later, have been moved to the Middle East.。
"I am confident that the team will fully tap their potential to claim better results in the two games," China head coach Li Tie told Xinhua before the team's departure.。
Li's task is made harder by China having to play its home games at neutral venues, as its quarantine requirements make it impractical for overseas teams to come into the country.。
"We have been longing to play our upcoming games at home," added Li. "What I have been doing is helping the players perform better under the current circumstances."
Li admitted that the players were disappointed about not being able to play at home, but added that "they are nevertheless still very devoted to their training."
"It will be more difficult for them to show their best form, but the coaching team will do our best to help them adjust," said Li.。
After suffering defeat to Saudi Arabia on October 13, the team then returned to China for nearly one month. Li believes that the time spent back home has made his players psychologically better prepared for the upcoming matches.。
On Friday, the Chinese Football Association announced that five players were excluded from the squad that will depart for Sharjah.。
Li explained that Gao Zhunyi suffered a leg strain during a warm-up game on Wednesday that will keep him out for around two weeks. Guo Tianyu, Wei Shihao, Wang Shangyuan, Yin Hongbo were also dropped.。
"We thought about recruiting other players, but because many Chinese Super League teams are on holiday, we have very limited options," said Li. "After due consideration and discussion, we decided to take the current team to Sharjah."
Li's team performed well in warm-up matches on Wednesday, with naturalized players A Lan and Luo Guofu both playing a full 90 minutes and scoring a goal each.。
"In the two-month training period, both of them have made great improvements in all aspects through their hard work.。
"We have been monitoring the players' physical data in real time through technological means," said Li. "I believe that no one knows them better than I do, and no one's desire to win the game is stronger than mine."
"Any player, as long as he meets the requirements for the game and can help the team, I will not hesitate to send him to play," added Li.。
With one win and three losses, China currently sits nine points behind Group B leader Saudi Arabia, who has the maximum 12 points from its first four games, and the game against Oman will be especially crucial to China's hopes of qualification.。
"After I took charge of the team, my main goal was to have our players in their best form in every game, no matter how strong the rival team is," said Li, noting that he will not pay too much attention on current points and positions.。
Li attributed the team's previous performance to a lack of experience in international games.。
"I used to play in the Premier League. Playing with and against top players all the time got me used to that environment, so when I then played for the national team, I didn't feel nervous," noted Li.。
"Playing overseas is an effective way to improve our players," added Li. "I hope that we will have more talented players playing in top-tier leagues and international games."
From the two six-team groups, the top two of each group will qualify directly for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The two third-placed teams will then face each other in a two-legged playoff, with the winner entering an intercontinental playoff. Enditem。
Chinese short track speed skater Ren shines at Nagoya leg of ISU World Cup series******
Ren Ziwei (front) of China competes during the men's 1000m final A at the ISU Short Track World Cup 2021/22 in Nagoya, Japan, Oct. 31, 2021. (Xinhua/Du Xiaoyi)。
NAGOYA, Japan, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) -- Ren Ziwei won the men's 1,000m gold first and led China to two silver medals at the men's 5,000m and mixed 2,000m relays at the Japan stop of the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating series on Sunday.。
The 24-year-old, who also finished second in the 1,500m final, wrapped up the competition with one gold and three silver medals in total, while the Chinese team, which won two gold and one bronze last week in Beijing, collected one gold, three silver and two bronze.。
Ren led all the way in the 1,000m race for the victory with one minute 26.297 seconds. Dutchman Itzhak de Laat was second in 1:26.533 and Canada's Pascal Dion third in 1:26.554.。
The men's 5,000 meters final was a thrilling affair. China looked sure to take the title before Canada's Steven Dubois caught up with their anchor Li Wenlong at the final corner to win the gold medal in 6:52.272. China was second with 0.013 seconds behind. Hungary placed third in 6:52.386.。
In their silver winning campaign in the 5,000m relay at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, Ren missed the final despite helping China win their group competition in the semifinals but with the Beijing Winter Olympics less than 100 days away, he has proved that he will be the man for the big occasion.。
The mixed 2,000m title went to Russia in 2:43.202. China, the winner in Beijing last week, finished second with 2:43.460 and Hungary took third with 2:43.568.。
America's Kristen Santos won the women's 1,000m race in 1:30.013, followed by two Dutchwomen Suzanne Schulting in 1:30.077 and Xandra Velzeboer in 1:30.089.。
The contest in Japan is the second of four stages of the qualifying competition for the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games. The next two stages will be in Hungary and the Netherlands. Enditem。
Ren Ziwei (L) of China is seen during the awarding ceremony for the men's 1000m final A at the ISU Short Track World Cup 2021/22 in Nagoya, Japan, Oct. 31, 2021. (Xinhua/Du Xiaoyi)。
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