Editor's note: Since the publication of the article below, we have been contacted by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), who has notified us that Singapore men's football coach denies making the statements attributed to him by Chinese sports website Titan. We have edited the article and the quotes by coach Avramovic at the request of FAS and Avramovic.
After defeating Laos 7:2 and 6:1 in recent matches in Kunming and Vientiane, respectively, China has advanced to the third round of Asian Football Confederation (AFC) tournament play and is scheduled to host a qualifying match on September 2 in Kunming at a location to be announced.
China is aiming to be one of the four or five AFC teams to compete in the FIFA World Cup finals, which will be hosted by Brazil in 2014. The number of AFC representatives in Brazil will be determined after a playoff with the Oceania Football Confederation's top team.
Singapore coach Radojko Avramovic, known as "Raddy" to Singapore fans, had the following to say about drawing fixtures with China:
"I am pleased that we have made it into the 3rd Round of the FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign for the second time in Singapore's history. We will now look at the best possible options in preparation for the matches, starting with the first game on September second against the People's Republic of China. It is up to the Football Association to decide which stadium and city they would like to host the qualifying matches at and we will focus on ensuring that my players get the right preparation needed for the matches and we are working towards having a good qualifying campaign."
At 1,900 meters above sea level, Kunming's high altitude offers most visiting teams an additional challenge for which they are ill-equipped to prepare.
In March 2008, Pim Verbeek, then-head coach of Australia's national team, shared his thoughts on why Kunming had been selected as the site of a qualifying match between China and the Socceroos:
"They're not stupid. On purpose they play at 1,900 meters, on purpose they ask us to travel longer than normal ... that's why we play in a place nobody has heard of. But on the other hand, I think that is a mistake, because our players are very willing to show it doesn't matter at all."
The 2008 match ended in a 0:0 draw, with Chinese fans leaving disappointed after China's Shao Jiayi (邵佳一), missed an 88th-minute spot kick, paving the way for China's failure to qualify for the 2010 finals, held in South Africa.
China has only reached the World Cup finals once, participating in the 2002 tournament held in Japan and South Korea. They were eliminated without scoring a single goal.© Copyright 2005-2021 GoKunming.com all rights reserved. This material may not be republished, rewritten or redistributed without permission.