China's national soccer team wrapped up their friendly matches in
Europe with two losses after they were defeated by their hosts
France 3-1 at the Geoffroy Guichard Stadium, Wednesday.
France appeared unable to find their normal pace and rhythm
early in the first half and after just 11 minutes Djibril Cisse
injured his right leg in a clash with China's midfielder Zheng Zhi.
He was substituted by David Trezeguet and taken to hospital.
Zinedine Zidane, the 33-year-old Real Madrid player, who
announced last month he'd be hanging his boots up after the World
Cup finals, missed a penalty in the 14th minute after he was
brought down in the box. But David Trezeguet got the opener scoring
from a Thierry Henry bye-line cutback in the 31st minute.
China drew level in the 69th minute with a penalty from
midfielder Zheng Zhi after he'd been tackled from behind by Eric
Abidal in the box.
The second half saw a more aggressive defensive style from China
and the game was in the balance until an own goal from substitute
Wang Yun put France back into the lead. A 30-yard effort from Henry
in the 92nd minute wrapped things up for France.
Cisse has fractured his right fibula and tibia and was in
hospital undergoing surgery, according to French coach Raymond
Domenech. He said Cisse's injury was a "vicious blow" because the
24-year-old forward would miss the entire World Cup campaign.
Zhu Guanghu, China's head coach commented that he regretted the
incident but pointed out that there'd been nothing malicious
intended by the tackle.
In their first friendly game of their short tour China were
beaten 4-1 by the Swiss on June 3. Interviewed afterwards about
China not qualifying for the World Cup finals while the Swiss and
French will be heading for Germany, the coach said that his side
were assisting other countries warm up for the competition.
However, the aim was to change things in readiness for the 2010
World Cup qualifiers.
Zhu suggested that if his squad had 20 high-level games like
those in Europe each year the players would show great improvement
The FIFA conference opened in Munich, Germany, yesterday and
today's discussion of the world soccer governing body is focusing
on age limit reform which suggests abolishing a rule allowing
participation of three over aged players in Olympic soccer
tournaments. This was raised by FIFA President Sepp Blatter last
On December 8, 2005, he said in Leipzig, Germany, that his
executive committee had reached an agreement to make men's soccer
at the 2008 Beijing Olympics an under-23-only tournament. The
official acceptance of the age limit proposal requires FIFA
The U-23, plus three over aged players first came into effect at
the 1992 Barcelona Olympics as FIFA's concession to the
International Olympic Committee, who'd been pushing to improve the
quality of Olympic soccer as well as to make it as prominent as
FIFA's cash cow -- the World Cup itself.
The executive committee was reportedly responding to complaints
from European clubs that their players weren't able to rest to
prepare for domestic league matches and national team games as the
Olympic soccer tournament begins at the same time as various
However, it makes for less impressive Olympic soccer, according
to Zhang Jilong, vice president of the China Football Association
(CFA) and the only Chinese member at the 2006 World Cup organizing
In sporting circles, it's felt the absence of big names like
David Beckham and Brazil's Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos in Beijing in
2008 is sure to dilute at least some of the Olympic buzz.
There are obvious possible knock-on effects such as lower
television audiences and spectator numbers, less sponsorship and
perhaps financial losses for the Beijing Organizing Committee for
the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG).
As the Olympic hosts, China automatically qualify for the
tournament, but will have to do without some top players including
Zheng Zhi, Li Weifeng and international player Sun Jihai.
Zhang noted that members of the Asian Football Confederation had
reached an agreement on reserving over aged players in the Olympics
and they would try to persuade other members during this
On the World Cup in Germany it was explained by Zhang that all
the players, coaches and staff had to sign a guarantee not to be
involved in violence, gambling and other illegal activities. As
well as anti-doping tests some players will also have their hearts
The opening game of the 2006 World Cup will kick off at 6 PM
tomorrow between hosts Germany and Costa Rica.
(China.org.cn by Li Xiao, June 8, 2006)