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China gets a lucky draw for World Cup preliminaries

08-01-2011 15:24 BJT

Good luck has favored China en route to the country's second World Cup appearance. After benefiting from a FIFA rule change to become the fifth seed in Asia, China received another boost at the preliminary draw in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.

FIFA's General Secretary Jerome Valcke (C) presides as Brazil's Lucas (R) and Zico (L) draw
the names of Asian countries during the preliminary draw for the 2014 World Cup in Rio de
Janeiro, July 30, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

China, which avoided early clashes with continental arch-rivals Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia and Iran after the seedings earlier this month, has been grouped with Jordan, Iraq and Singapore in the round-of-20 Asian Zone qualifying round.

The draw will further help China to avoid encounters with equally strong opponents such as Uzbekistan, Qatar and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Although China has had the better of Jordan and Singapore in the past, and is level with Iraq, Serbian coach Bora Milutinovic, who led China to its only World Cup appearance in 2002 in Japan and South Korea, warned the Chinese not to underestimate any of its opponents.

"China must take every game seriously, because none of the teams in the round-of-20 qualification is a minnow," said the 66-year-old Serb, who is working for Qatar as a soccer consultant. "From this group, I think China and Jordan have the biggest chances to go through to the next round."

China will play its first group game in Kunming against Singapore on Sep 2.

Top two from each group will go forward to two groups of five in the final round. The top two of each of the two groups will advance to the World Cup finals. The two third placed sides will face off with the winner taking on fifth placed team from South America.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: China Daily

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