China’s dreams of a first Fifa World Cup finals appearance since 2002 moved a step closer with a 5-0 win over the Maldives in Sharjah on Friday night. Goals from Liu Binbin – after just six minutes – and Wu Lei got Li Tie’s side on track before half-time with three more second half strikes helping the goal difference as they chase the next stage of the qualifying campaign for Qatar 2022. Naturalised China international Alan Carvalho, known as A Lan in China, scored before Zhang Yuning and Tan Long put the gloss on an easy win for a much changed China side that also secured second place in group A. The win – and five goals in the “goals for” column – means that China still stand a chance of being one of the five best second-placed teams. 🚨 STARTING XI 🚨 🇨🇳 China continue their push towards qualifying for the #AsianQualifiers Final Round as they square up against 🇲🇻 Maldives pic.twitter.com/sF4EWRiObZ — #AsianCup2023 (@afcasiancup) June 11, 2021 Qatar, who host next year’s World Cup, finished top of their group but will not join the other group winners in the next round of qualifiers having already qualified. That means five rather than four of the second-best teams will join the other seven group winners. Who are the foreign-born footballers firing China’s World Cup dream? China have one game left to play – against group winners Syria on Wednesday night. The Chinese currently have the second-best second place record behind Oman, who have played six games. Li Tie’s side have 10 points from five games and a plus-11 goal difference, which is five better than next best Uzbekistan. FT: 🇨🇳 China 5-0 Maldives 🇲🇻 China take a huge step towards securing their place in #AsianQualifiers Final Round with a comfortable victory over Maldives! pic.twitter.com/cF3My8Mjd7 — #AsianCup2023 (@afcasiancup) June 11, 2021 Mathematically, China need a win to secure progress as five of the six teams below them can leapfrog them depending on results. However, China are not the only team to face a stiff challenge on the final match day as all of the other second-placed teams who can qualify are playing the team in top spot. Iran meet Iraq, Jordan play Australia, Lebanon face South Korea, Uzbekistan take on Saudi Arabia and the UAE meet Vietnam.