Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Saturday, May 18, 2002

Defender Li Says Feet Speak Louder than Mouth

Playing football with foot instead of mouth, this is what Chinese international Li Weifeng firmly believes.


Playing football with foot instead of mouth, this is what Chinese international Li Weifeng firmly believes.

When questioned about how far China could go at this summer's World Cup finals, he said that he would rather answer such inquiries by foot than by mouth.

"We need to close our mouths," the defender said of the question which has been a hot topic as the tournament is approaching.

"The result is decided by our feet instead of mouths," said Li, who played key part in China's qualifying success.

He made the remarks in a website chat with fans on Thursday after China's 0-2 loss to fellow World Cup finalists Uruguay in an international friendly.

The match exposed the gap between China, a World Cup debutante, and Uruguay, a two-time world champions which makes its tenth appearance in the premier soccer tournament.

"The warm-up match is very meaningful. The Uruguayans were quite skillful, and light was shed upon our weakness," he admitted.

Li said that the major difference between China and Uruguay is the individual competence.

"They boast of many European-based players, but we only have two or three players playing in second-rate European league, it makes big difference," he said.

Li referred to such big names in Uruguay as defender Paolo Montero of Italy's Juventus, midfielder Alvaro Recoba of Inter Milan and striker Dario Silva of Spain's Malaga club and Manchester United's Diego Forlan.

But he believed China would have better performances at the coming tournament, as they have their own merits.

"We are a united team and have great self-confidence," he said. "As for the playing style, speed and dexterity are our weapons."

China is grouped with soccer powerhouse Brazil in the tournament, which means that Li will face up to such superstar as Ronaldo.

"We can find out our weakness by playing Brazil, this is the best chance to test ourselves," said Li.

"I won't get nervous when facing him (Ronaldo), and one player should not get nervous after coming onto the pitch," he added.

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