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China's WCup hopes hit after loss to Iraq

(Shanghai Daily)

09:56, October 12, 2011

China's Han Chao (right) goes for a header against an unidentified Iraqi player during their 2014 World Cup Asian qualifier in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, last night. Iraq won 1-0.

China's hopes of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil took a beating last night following a crucial 0-1 loss to Iraq in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, last night.

Younis Mahmoud scored in the 45th minute to lead 10-man Iraq to the valuable away win that gives the Middle Eastern nation six points in Group A, three points behind leader Jordan. China has just three points. With three games remaining, China must now beat Iraq in the back-to-back away game on November 11

Led by veteran captain Li Weifeng, China came out attacking in the first half, with two excellent chances in the 32nd minute. Iraq seized its chance on the counterattack, with Mahmoud passing to Mustafa Kareem before sprinting into the box to make the sliding shot.

China's chances improved with the sending off of Basem Abbas for a second yellow card in the 64th, but it failed to convert its opportunities.

Earlier, Jordan blanked Singapore 3-0 to keep the host bottom of Group A with zero points.

In Seoul, Arsenal striker Park Chu-young scored his seventh goal in four games for South Korea as the host defeated the United Arab Emirates 2-1 in a Group B qualifier.

The Koreans have seven points from three games, while the UAE has lost three straight.

In Osaka, Japan took its recent frustrations out on hapless Tajikistan by thrashing the ex-Soviet republic 8-0 to seize top spot in Group C.

Japan had struggled in its first two qualifiers, scraping past North Korea 1-0 at home after an injury-time goal and escaping with a lucky 1-1 draw in Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan beat North Korea 1-0 in Pyongyang earlier to keep pace with Japan on seven points.

In Group D, midfielder Brett Holman scored in the 8th minute to set Australia on the way to a 3-0 win over underdog Oman in Sydney that leaves the Socceroos in a strong position to advance to the fourth round of Asian qualifying.

Josh Kennedy scored Australia's second goal in the 65th and Mile Jedinak completed the scoring with five minutes left.

The win gives Australia maximum points from its first three matches and a five-point lead over second-place Thailand, which played a 0-0 draw with Saudi Arabia in Bangkok. The Socceroos play their next match in Muscat, Oman, on November 11.

The first- and second-place teams in each of the five qualifying groups qualify for the fourth round.

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