China faces Saudi Arabia in round 9 of the third stage of the World Cup qualification. The match will be played on Thursday, March 24th at Sharjah Stadium (Sharjah)
Despite its huge population, China has played at the World Cup only once. And the national team has not shown anything there. It is surprising to see such weak results, as the Chinese are generally very successful in sports. Perhaps competitive sports are simply not for them? After all, they invested huge money into football for a long time, and the local Super League was spangled with stars that were traveling to the Far East for beneficial contracts. But neither this nor the work of maestros like Marcello Lippi gave anything. Recently, the situation has even worsened due to coronavirus. And it is not surprising that the results of the national Chinese team in the decisive round are weak: five points (most due to the victory over Vietnam) and the penultimate place.
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Making their debut at the World Cup in 1994, the Saudi Arabian national team sensationally qualified from the group. Then the Green Falcons played at three World Cups in a row, albeit without such success. However, then there was a decline, and they managed to qualify only for the last major tournament in Russia. Saudi Arabia even beat Egypt but lagged behind Uruguay and the hosts of the tournament. Now the Saudis play under the management of Hervé Renard, who was successful with several African teams. In Asia, he also started well. Yes, the Green Falcons did not win against Australia and recently lost to Japan. But having won all other matches, they are still leading the standings. And if they win now, they will be able to book tickets to neighboring Qatar.
In 2015, China beat Saudi Arabia in the away match of the Asian Cup qualifiers. But in October, the Green Falcons took revenge by defeating the Dragons in a home goal shootout (3-2). It seems that now the Chinese are seriously underestimated. Moreover, the Saudis will choose cautious tactics and play for the result. We think that the hosts won’t lose with a large goal difference.