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

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2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers: China Loses to Iran, 0-1, Suffers Major Blow to World Cup Hopes

China PR head coach Marcello Lippi

(Photo : Getty Images) China lost to Iran, 0-1, in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying match on Tuesday.

China suffered a major blow to their World Cup qualifying campaign as the team lost to Group A leaders Iran, 0-1, on Tuesday at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran in the third round of the AFC 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Iranian striker Mehdi Taremi scored the winning goal for head coach Carlos Queiroz's side one minute after the restart to seal the match, who was watched by more than 100,000 fans in the 78,000-seater stadium, as per The Sun. Despite the massive turnout, the arena can still hold more as its record attendance was 128,000 during a 1998 World Cup qualifying match between Iran and Australia.

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The loss was the fourth in seven games for China PR, settling them in the fifth spot in the six-team Group A standings with only five points. Head coach Marcello Lippi's squad has only three games left in the tournament.

Meanwhile, Iran continues to be on top of the group table with 17 points, four points ahead of second-running team South Korea, who China defeated 1-0 during the previous matchday. Iran is still undefeated in the round with five wins and two draws.

Lippi was able to raise China's hopes to qualify for next year's World Cup after leading his squad to a close victory over South Korea at the Helong Stadium last week. However, Team Dragon failed to sustain their momentum with the road loss to Iran, as per Channel News Asia.

China will now have to win all their remaining three games against Syria, Uzbekistan, and Qatar to have a chance of advancing to the fourth round, which is a two-leg series between the two third-place teams of Groups A and B in October. The winner will then move to the Inter-confederation playoffs versus the fourth place squad of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers to be held in November.

China PR is on a mission to qualify for the World Cup for only the second time in the team's history.

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