China Loses to Iceland in the Inaugural Edition of the China Cup International Football Championship
The national team of Iceland netted two goals in the second half to defeat the national squad of China with a 2-0 win on Tuesday in the inaugural edition of the ongoing 2017 Gree China Cup International Football Championship that was held in the southern city of Nanning.
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The event, which is a new A-grade international football friendly tournament, was launched by the Chinese multinational conglomerate corporation Wanda Group and acknowledged by the sport's governing body FIFA. China Cup is widely regarded as a significant platform for the host team to enhance their football skills ahead of what remains a long-shot bid for the upcoming World Cup 2018 in Russia.
According to Sina, the first 45 minutes of the match saw the Chinese side waste a few good chances of landing a goal. A header off team captain Cai Huikang was saved by Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson at the line in the 20th minute, and Yin Hongbo blew away a one-on-one occasion against the goalie in the 33rd minute of the match.
Kjartan Finnbogasson and Aron Sigurdarson scored one goal apiece for Iceland.
"Our players were not in their best form, and most of them earned national caps for the first time," China's head coach Marcello Lippi said after the game. "They are way less experienced than the Icelandic players."
"Several players were so nervous that they forgot to save energy for the entire match. But overall, they have given what we asked for," the 68-year-old seasoned Italian manager pointed out.
According to Xinhua, China has last won in June 2016 with a 4-2 triumph over Trinidad and Tobago in a friendly. The Dragons will play the losers between Chile and Croatia for the third place on Saturday.
The very first edition of the China Cup was opened on Tuesday evening in the capital of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, in an exuberant ceremony that featured ethnic Zhuang singing and dancing performances.