China on Saturday said it does not have the “best chance” of winning next year’s Asian Cup, held in Australia in January, after its 23-man squad was unveiled.
“We are not the favorite, we do not have the best chance,” China’s head coach Alain Perrin said.
“What I know is that the players are ready to give the best they can,” Perrin said, adding that “anything was possible.”
China survived a scare before scraping into the Asian Cup on goal difference thanks to a late penalty in their 3-1 defeat to Iraq in March. That defeat made for a shaky start for the newly hired former Lyon boss, after he was selected following a lengthy search to replace Spaniard Jose Antonio Camacho.
“I hope that the efforts the players made during these few months of preparation, and the team spirit of that group, will allow us to get past the first round,” Perrin said.
The Frenchman was speaking to reporters after the players, all wearing suits and in high spirits, were introduced on a television program from a studio in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou.
Last year’s Asian player of the year Zheng Zhi, who plays for club giants Guangzhou Evergrande, is set to bolster the midfield. Team captain Zheng was a hit with fans during nearly three seasons at Charlton Athletic and a year with Scottish giants Celtic before returning to China to join Evergrande.
China has a woeful record at a national level. The team won only two of their six qualifiers and has their work cut out at next year’s tournament with tough competition in the form of South Korea and defending champions Japan.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7
‘GREAT COMPETITOR’: Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza was tested by American teenager Coco Gauff, before the Spaniard advanced in three sets Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Thursday cruised into the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia by handing their Japanese opponents a rare “double bagel,” a feat matched by US Open losing finalist Victoria Azarenka in the women’s singles. Top seeds Hsieh and Strycova took just 49 minutes to see off the challenge of Japanese duo Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-0, 6-0 on the clay courts at the Foro Italico in Rome. The Taiwanese-Czech duo saved both break points they faced and converted six of 14, winning 62 percent of their first