CHINA TOPIX

Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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AFC 2018 World Cup Qualifying: Gao Hongbo urges Chinese squad to 'do well' for country against Iran

China PR head coach Gao Hongbo

(Photo : Getty Images) China PR head coach Gao Hongbo had recently urged his Chinese national team players to “do well” for their country ahead of their match against Iran.

China PR head coach Gao Hongbo had recently urged his Chinese national team players to "do well" for their country ahead of their 2018 FIFA World Cup AFC qualifying tournament match against powerhouse squad Iran at the Shenyang Olympic Sports Center Stadium on Sep. 6.

Team Dragon dropped their World Cup qualifying opener against regional rivals South Korea, 2-3, at the Seoul World Cup Stadium on Sep. 1 and would need to win against FIFA world no. 39 Iran on Tuesday to keep their hopes of advancing to the Russia tournament in 2018 alive.

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China is ranked 78th in the world by FIFA and are a clear underdog against the Lions of Persia, but Gao is not fazed by their disadvantage.

ESPN reported that the 50-year-old Chinese mentor had "urged his squad to play their part in the continuing development of Chinese football" by doing well not only for themselves but for the country as well.

"Chinese football turned professional in 1994 but since 2002 there hasn't been a period of reform like there has been in the last few years," said Gao, referring to the fast pace of China football improvement that cannot seem to be matched by the performance of the national team in international competitions.

"We are now the fastest in Asia in terms of improvement, but the process is long and it takes time. Me and my team are hoping we can shorten that period and speed up the development," he said.

Gao then mentioned that the squad's management devised a "clear division of work" that allows each one in the team from the manager to the players to give all of their best in their respective roles.

The coach also said that he "wants his China team to continue where it left off in Seoul", as per Shanghai Daily.

"If we can play against Iran with the same spirit as the last part of the last game then we can get a good result," Gao said. "There are nine games remaining in the group and this is our first home game."

"We need to do well in front of our own fans if we are going to achieve our goal of qualifying for the World Cup," he added.

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