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China coach still optimistic of Olympic berth

(Xinhua)

10:32, September 05, 2011

JINAN, China - Despite ranking fourth with two goalless ties, China coach Li Xiaopeng on Saturday still showed his optimism of taking an Olympic women's soccer berth.

"We have gone this far and two points for two matches was OK for us," said Li, the youngest-ever Chinese national women's soccer team coach, after his side tied 0-0 with DPR Korea on Saturday night.

"My players used too much of their strength in the first half and we have to focus more on defence after the break as the situation slowly went against us. All the 14 players deserved to be respected as they tried their best," said Li.

Li still put his faith in his team after going through the two goalless matches, the first of which was the tournament's opener against South Korea here on Thursday.

Six teams are competing in the round-robin qualifying tournament in Jinan, China. The top two finishers will be awarded the tickets for next year's London Olympic Games.

After the second round, World championis Japan led the tournament with six points, followed by DPR Korea with four points, Asian Cup winners Australia three points, China two points, South Korea one point, and Thailand nil.

In the next round of play, China will take on minnows Thailand on Monday, which could be the best chance for the hosts to gain some advantage.

Li Xiaopeng did not want to predict the result of the China-Thailand match. "I am not sure. That depends on my players' performance," Li noted.

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