In October, the Chinese national football team held two regular qualifying matches in the Asian region for the 2022 World Cup. The team, under the leadership of 44-year-old Li Te, who played for Everton in the English Premier League, won a home win over underdog Vietnam (3: 2), and lost on the road to Saudi Arabia (2: 3), which is the leader in group B, having won four out of four fights. It would seem a good result – three points and a tense away battle against one of the favorites of the selection, but in reality the situation for the Celestial Empire is close to critical.
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At the moment, the third round of selection is underway in the Asian region, which involves competitions in two groups between twelve teams – six in each. Only two winners from each group will receive direct tickets to the 2022 World Cup, and the teams that finished in third places will challenge another quota in the full-time playoffs. Given the presence of Saudi Arabia and Australia in group B, China has little chance of direct access to the 2022 World Cup, to put it mildly, and therefore the maximum that the Great Wall (the nickname of this team) can aim at is the third line and play off.
Obviously, these are not the tasks set for the bosses of Chinese football by the country’s top leadership. Back in April 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping made it clear that he had ambitious plans in football. Immediately under this, the Celestial Empire began to actively invest in sports No. 1, and if the clubs did it mainly with an emphasis on legionnaires (what this policy led to is well known, especially against the backdrop of the termination of the existence of Jiangsu Suning, which became the champion of China in 2020 ), then at the state level, millions and billions of yuan were allocated for the construction of infrastructure. In particular, several thousand children’s academies were built, in which tens of millions of Chinese boys and girls began to attend classes
Several years ago, the leadership of the Chinese Football Association, which was closely associated with the bosses of Guangzhou Evergrande, made every effort to successfully naturalize the Brazilians. By the way, in addition to immigrants from this South American country, they also managed to persuade one more “ancestor of football” – the English defender Nicholas Yennaris, who changed his name after receiving a Chinese passport for Li Ke.
But then in the Celestial Empire they somehow lost interest in football at the club level. Concerns, which were under significant economic pressure from the state (the authorities imposed exorbitant taxes on the purchase of foreigners, trying to stimulate clubs to grow their own talented students and invest less abroad), ceased to rumble on the transfer market, and soon a series of high-profile bankruptcies of sponsors swept through. The last “swallow” was the resignation at the end of September from the post of the head coach of “Guangzhou” Italian Fabio Cannavaro, who saw no reason to continue working in a team whose prospects are extremely vague.