BEIJING, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) — China head coach Li Tie indicated that he is determined to carry on with his job after his team struggled to beat Vietnam to notch up their first win in the final round of Asian FIFA World Cup qualification on Thursday.
Li, who signed a contract extension in late August that will keep him in the job until 2026, has been under fire after China was outclassed by Australia and Japan in their first two games, and their win over Vietnam, which was secured by an injury-time winner, did not silence his critics.
The former Everton midfielder put on a brave face.
“My love for football and the national team remains unchanged during the past twenty years,” he wrote on social media on Thursday to commemorate the the twentieth anniversary of China’s momentous 1-0 win over Oman, which sealed their qualification for the 2002 World Cup finals.
“I am grated to football for all it brought to me. Success, failures, encouragements, support, flowers, applause, abuse, accusations and even personal attacks, which I will invariably face with a smile, will only make me become stronger,” he wrote.
“Only hard work will bring good luck,” he noted.
His team currently sits six points behind Group B leaders Australia and Saudi Arabia, who both have the maximum nine points from their first three games.
The top two from both six-team groups qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar automatically. The two third-placed teams will then face each other in a two-legged playoff, with the winner of that tie entering an intercontinental playoff.