Russia 2018 Asian Qualifiers Third Round: China v Qatar preview

Kunming: After arresting a run of three straight defeats with a win over Syria on Matchday Four, Qatar travel to Group A’s bottom-placed side China, who will be hoping that the appointment of FIFA World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi will be the catalyst for an upturn in fortunes.

Potential Line-ups

  • China coach Marcello Lippi admits his side are in a difficult predicament and need a miracle to make Russia 2018.
  • Mental strength is the key to victory against China and Lippi says Qatar coach Jorge Fossati.
  • Defender Zhang Linpeng returns from a one match ban while China icon Zheng Zhi is recalled to the side having been left out of the last two fixtures under former coach Gao Hongbo.
  • Disciplinary problems see Qatar without four players through suspension as Abdelkarim Hassan, Meshaal Abdulla, Khaled Muftah and Ahmed Yasser all miss out.
  • This is set to be Marcello Lippi’s first match as a national team coach since Italy were defeated 3-2 by Slovakia on June 24, 2010 at the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Match Details
Date: 15 November 2016 (Tuesday)
Kickoff time: 7:35pm CST, 11:35am GMT
Venue: Tuodong Stadium, Kunming
Referee: Mohanad Qasim (Iraq)

Coach Quotes

Marcello Lippi, China
“I am very glad to be back here to start a new journey. It will be a very difficult mission for me to lead this team to qualify to the 2018 FIFA World Cup and we have a tough road ahead.

“We are at the bottom of the group and we need points and we only have one at the moment. It is extremely difficult; our qualification is only theoretically alive now. Our work should focus on long-term development. Of course if we can make it to Russia, it will be a great thing, but if we can’t, we should think about the future.

“Qatar is a good team. They changed the head coach recently, and their new coach is an outstanding one. He knows their players and football very well. They have great passion because they will host the World Cup soon. But their quality is no less than their passion.”

Jorge Fossati, Qatar
“I believe mental strength will be the most important factor in the result on Tuesday. Our players will show their best fighting spirit as it will be a difficult game, for both sides. We are here with big self-confidence and with all our efforts we are expecting a win.

“Lippi is a great coach with great coaching experiences and he will no doubt change the team, but I don’t think he would be able to do much in a very short time. I know Chinese players well and I don’t think there would be any in their side that we haven’t prepared for.

“I respect Marcello Lippi very much, but the match is between China and Qatar, not between me and Lippi. The players will decide the match.”

Head to Head Record
29/03/16 China 2-0 Qatar
09/10/15 Qatar 1-0 China
13/01/11 China 0-2 Qatar
07/06/08 China 0-1 Qatar
03/06/08 Qatar 0-0 China

Form
China: LLDLL
Qatar: WLLLW

How they fared on MD4
Uzbekistan 2-0 China
A dominant performance from Uzbekistan saw second-half goals from Marat Bikmaev and Otabek Shukurov condemn China to last place in Group A and triggered the resignation of under-pressure coach Gao Hongbo.

Qatar 1-0 Syria
Hasan Al Haydos scored from the penalty spot as Qatar dominated for long spells to earn their first points of the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 Asian qualifying campaign to leapfrog China into fifth place in the Group A standings and keep their slim hopes of qualification alive.

Photos: Lagardère Sports

Asian Football Confederation Website

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