China’s soccer team scored two goals in the final 10 minutes to snatch an improbable 3-3 draw against Japan in the opening game of the 2013 EAFF East Asian Cup on Sunday in Seoul.
China had lost three consecutive games, including an embarrassing 5-1 home defeat to a mostly junior Thailand team last month. Japan are Asian champions. This result was not expected.
At the danger of shortchanging the players in an excellent effort, the difference for China may have been the coach — or, specifically, who wasn’t coaching.
Soon after the Thailand game, China’s Football Association fired embattled manager Jose Antonio Camacho, at whom fans had chanted “resign, resign.”
In 22 months, the Spaniard accomplished basically nothing, and actually steered China lower in the FIFA rankings, to 95th, behind the likes of Cuba and Uganda.
His replacement — on an interim basis — is Fu Bo, who’s off to a good start. “We have to be satisfied with the result, we all put in effort and are happy to have come away with this scoreline,” right-back Zhang Linpeng told Goal.
Check out the Chinese fans at the end of the match, as excited as sports fans should be after snatching a 3-3 tie from the jaws of a two-goal defeat. Reports of Chinese football’s demise have been premature, it seems.
Until the next embarrassing loss, anyway, which could happen as soon as Wednesday when they play the hosts, South Korea, in Hwaseong. Stay tuned.