Camacho: China will raise game against Iraq
China are ready to step up their challenge in World Cup Asian zone qualifying when they take on Iraq tonight in Shenzhen, national coach Jose Antonio Camacho says.
Camacho, who was appointed in August with the task of leading China to the 2014 finals in Brazil, has seen his side collect three points from the two matches for which he has been in charge. 'Although we still have three matches left [after tonight], this is one we have to win,' Camacho said yesterday. 'We have prepared well since arriving in Shenzhen. The players are all looking forward to the match and we will be taking the game to Iraq.'
All 35,000 tickets have been snapped up and striker Gao Lin expects the support of the fans will make a difference.
There are four teams in group A, including group leaders Jordan (on six points) and Singapore.
Iraq, coached by Brazilian legend Zico, scored their first group victory against Singapore last time (2-0), but Camacho expects the Western Asian team to be a lot tougher tonight. 'I have studied video of Iraq and found some weaknesses; but they will be better prepared for the match against us,' the Spaniard said. 'We must pressure hard, just like in the first half of the friendly against the United Arab Emirates last week.'
China won the UAE match 2-1, but Camacho was furious that some players slacked off after taking a 2-0 lead.
Jordan look set to extend their stay at the top of the group when they take on Singapore, who are without a point so far, on the artificial pitch of Jalan Besar Stadium.
Elsewhere, Australia captain Lucas Neill vowed there would be no complacency against unfancied Oman as the Socceroos bid to make it three wins out of three in group D.
In group B, Lebanon and Kuwait also look set to scrap for the second qualifying berth behind South Korea, who are at home to winless UAE.
The winners and runners-up of the five groups will be drawn into two pools for the round-robin fourth stage. The eventual top two in each section earn a ticket to Brazil.
The two third-placed teams will then face each other for the right to contest an intercontinental play-off.