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Soccer: China Calls 3 Overseas Players for Asian Cup Qualifier
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China released its 26-man soccer squad named by coach Zhu Guanghu in Beijing on Friday, who called three Chinese overseas players back for Asian Cup qualifier on September 6 against Singapore.


China edged out Singapore 1-0 on August 16, thanks to German Bundesliga striker Shao Jiayi's last-gasp penalty in the northern city Tianjin. Coach Zhu has been under fire for failing to meet expectations.


Zhu drew lessons from the first confrontation to give much more weight to the second leg in Singapore by summoning three overseas players-Shao from Energie Cottbusin, the newly-promoted German Bundesliga club, Dong Fangzhuo, forward in top Belgian club Anderlecht and Li Tie, midfielder from English Premier League club Sheffield United.


Manchester City defender Sun Jihai was excluded from the match for injury.


Playmaker Zheng Zhi returned to the squad after the six-month suspension imposed by Asian Football Confederation (AFC) for pushing an opponent in an Asian Champions League match last year, surely boosting Zhu's confidence.


Apart from Zheng, five other players from Shandong, Chinese Super League leader, made it to the team.


China has accumulated six points after three games with two wins and one loss and ranks second behind Iraq in Group E only because of goal difference.


The Asian Cup finals will be held in July, jointly hosted by Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.


The winners and runners-up from all six qualifying groups advance to the finals along with the four co-hosts.




Goalkeepers: Li Leilei (Shandong); Yang Zhi (Beijing); Wang Dalei (Shanghai Liancheng); Zheng Bin (Wuhan); Dong Fangzhuo (Anderlecht); Shao Jiayi (Energie Cottbus)




Forwards: Li Jinyu (Shandong); Han Peng (Shandong); Zou Jie (Dalian)


Midfielders: Zhou Haibin (Shandong); Cui Peng (Shandong); Tao Wei (Beijing); Jiangkun (Shanghai Liancheng); Du Zhenyu (Changchun); Wang Dong (Changchun); Zhao Junzhe (Liaoning); Li Tie(Sheffield United)


Defenders: Zheng Zhi (Shandong); Xu Yunlong (Beijing); Ji Mingyi (Dalian); Zhang Yaokun (Dalian); Li Weifeng (Shanghai Shenhua); Sun Xiang (Shanghai Shenhua); Cao Yang (Tianjin); Hao Junmin (Tianjin); Xu Liang (Liaoning).


(Xinhua News Agency August 26, 2006)

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