Ivankovic faces tough test after taking over China's football team

(Xinhua) 10:22, March 05, 2024

BEIJING, March 4 (Xinhua) -- Branko Ivankovic, who officially took up the role as head coach of China's men's football team on Monday, has to brace himself for the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Singapore.

According to the Chinese Football Association (CFA), the 70-year-old Croatian, who was appointed in late February, landed in Beijing on Monday to start his coaching stint in the Chinese side.

Ivankovic's first test with the Chinese team will be their back-to-back World Cup qualifying games against Singapore, on March 21 and 26 respectively.

He was left with very limited time to prepare for these two games, said a CFA spokesperson.

"The team's coaching staff have started selecting the players, and they will wholeheartedly assist Ivankovic in doing his job," the spokesperson said.

China failed to progress through the group stage at the AFC Asian Cup in January, going scoreless in two draws and one defeat.

In its first two World Cup qualifiers, China beat Thailand 2-1 before losing to South Korea 3-0, currently ranking third in Group C of the AFC qualifiers.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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