Hong Kong meet China in their final game at the EAFF Football Championship in Busan, South Korea, on Wednesday afternoon with much at stake. Both teams go into the match having been beaten by both the hosts and Japan’s largely under-23 squad, with Mixu Paatelainen’s Hong Kong side on the wrong end of a 5-0 loss to the 2020 Olympic Games hosts on Saturday night. That came on the back of a 2-0 defeat by Paulo Bento’s South Korea in the opening game last Wednesday. JAPAN - HONG KONG Highlights (Men's) | EAFF E-1 Football Championship 2019 Final Korea Republic https://t.co/pyRV7XsOPf #EAFF #E1 — EAFF Official (@EAFF_Official) December 14, 2019 Paatelainen was unhappy after the game and will want immediate improvement from his defenders on Wednesday. “The boys are in good spirits,” Paatelainen said. “I’m expecting a good performance, nothing else. The last match was disappointing, how we defended. We have defended much better. We know if we play well as a team, play well collectively, then we make it very, very difficult for China.” China manager Li Tie, who took charge of the national team for this competition in the aftermath of Marcello Lippi’s resignation following defeat by Syria in Fifa World Cup 2022 qualifiers last month, has overseen a narrow 2-1 loss to Japan in the tournament opener and a 1-0 defeat to South Korea at the weekend. However, the former Everton footballer was full of praise for his players’ attitude following the latest defeat, thanking them for their hard work and fight. “I told them in the locker room just now that they have done their best in this game and fight to the end,” he said in the post-match press conference. Li needs them to fight for one more game. The Wuhan Zall manager is considered a favourite along with Li Xiaopeng, the head coach at fellow Chinese Super League side Shandong Luneng, so the tournament has been seen by Chinese media as something of an audition to replace the Italian World Cup winner on a permanent basis. EAFF E-1 Football Championship: Japan Olympic team beat Hong Kong to make it two wins from two Given that the China squad are considered to be below full-strength, defeats against Japan and South Korea are not regarded by the media or Chinese Football Association as stumbling blocks to the interim manager’s case, according to reports. Li also said that he thought his players would have performed better in Busan if they had more time to prepare. “It ’s a pity that our team has been together for too short a time. I believe that if we have more time, our strength will become stronger and stronger,” he said. However, the bottom line according to mainland media is to avoid defeat by Hong Kong and the ignominy of finishing at the bottom of the four-team group. EAFF E-1 Football Championship: ‘Monster’ goal hands South Korea 1-0 victory over China in Busan The meeting between Hong Kong and China takes place amid the backdrop of the ongoing anti-government protests in the city, which have now entered its seventh month. Some Hong Kong football fans have also booed or have turned their backs during the playing of China’s anthem the March of the Volunteers ahead of Hong Kong matches. This has been the subject of punishment for the Hong Kong FA from world football governing body Fifa. EAFF E-1 Football Championship: Japan Olympic team beat Hong Kong to make it two wins from two Paatelainen praised the supporters who have travelled “in numbers” to Busan and hopes to see the same on Wednesday. “Hopefully, we can give the fans a positive memory from the match, a positive experience, they can be proud of being Hongkongers.” The teams last met during the qualifying campaign for the Russia 2018 Fifa World Cup, with two matches in quick succession at the end of 2015. Both games finished 0-0. Hong Kong and China matches have long been under an increased spotlight, especially when World Cup qualifying is on the line. Hong Kong famously prevented China from reaching the 1986 tournament with a 2-1 victory in Beijing’s Worker’s Stadium in 1985. The “May 19 Incident”, as the game has become known, is regarded as a low point in Chinese football. China defender Yu Dabao appeared keen to avoid such a result after the team’s loss to South Korea at the weekend. “Go all out and win the game,” he said, when asked how they could best prepare to beat Hong Kong. Hajime Moriyasu’s Japan and the hosts will play at the Asiad Main Arena following the China vs Hong Kong game. A win for either side would guarantee them the EAFF trophy and a trip to face the Asean Football Federation winners next year. A draw would give Japan the victory over the two-time defending champions because of their superior goal difference.