Camacho issues ultimatum for today's qualifier

Updated: 2011-10-11 08:00

By Tang Zhe (China Daily)

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BEIJING - It's do or die time. Or, at least, do or get kicked off the team.

China coach Jose Antonio Camacho warned his team that anyone playing with less than a full effort in a World Cup qualifier against Iraq in Shenzhen on Tuesday will be out of the national lineup.

The Spanish coach, who took charge of the team in August, said the host could easily lose if it plays anything like it did in the second half of a friendly against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Oct 6.

China won, 2-1, but followed an impressive first-half display with an atrocious second half.

"We controlled the game and played quite well in the first half we even could have scored more goals with fast attacks," said Camacho, who replaced eight players in the game. "But we were in a totally different situation in the second half - we played slowly and lost our sharpness.

Camacho issues ultimatum for today's qualifier

"I don't think (the substitutes) have problems in skills. Instead, they lack a positive attitude. They should run more and play more aggressively, but all of them were not in the right rhythm. I warned them if they continue to play like this, they will disappear from the lineup, and I think they know how to play in the future."

It wasn't the first time Camacho blasted his team recently. In an interview with the Spanish newspaper AS, Camacho blamed his players' lack of guts on Chinese parents' tendency to spoil their children, thanks to the fact most families only have one.

According to the newspaper, Camacho said Chinese families' over-protection has cost the younger generation the ambition to compete in team sports.

He also expressed his disappointment with the players' cowardice in tackling and physical confrontations.

"Though we won the friendly, we can't look down on our opponent," he said. "I hope we will make Iraq in trouble from the very beginning of the game. If we play like we did in the second half of the friendly, our opponent will benefit from the slow rhythm."

The Chinese national team, which for the first and only time qualified the World Cup in 2002, has failed to claim a berth in the last stage of World Cup Asian Zone qualifiers (round-of-ten) in the past ten years.

Quotable quotes:

Camacho issues ultimatum for today's qualifier
Former coach of Chinese national team Bora Milutinovic

"Why did China lose the qualification matches to play the last round of World Cup Asian Zone qualifiers the past ten years? Maybe the team didn't play well in the games, but more problems came from the team inside. A good team is one in harmony, and we need to give the coach (Jos Antonio Camacho) more trust."

Camacho issues ultimatum for today's qualifier
Former assistant coach of Chinese national team Shen Xiangfu

"The memory is still fresh even after ten years - all the scenes are in front of my eyes. I didn't have the chance to play the World Cup as a player, but I realized the dream as a coach. The team ten years ago proved themselves with the results. Each of the players has their own character, and they made history."

Camacho issues ultimatum for today's qualifier
The 2002 team central-back and current national team captain Li Weifeng

"Oct 7 is a special day for me. I witnessed the happiest moment of Chinese soccer on this day ten years ago. I'm still continuing my soccer dream today, I'm not lonely without my former teammates, because their dreams are living with me. I'm really grateful for the predecessors' help, and the coach's (Bora Milutinovic) trust. Without them, I don't know if there is a World Cup."

Camacho issues ultimatum for today's qualifier
Former national team player Sun Jihai

"We just qualified for the World Cup once, and it didn't mean Chinese soccer had became stronger. On the contrary, with the result, some people stopped working seriously, which led Chinese soccer to a terrible situation. What we should do is to work from the basis to lift up the whole level of Chinese soccer, and regard playing a World Cup as a natural thing, that's the right way."