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Preview - Group A: Guam in the way as China PR bid to keep Asian Qualifiers campaign on track

Suzhou: China PR have no room for error when they play Guam in Group A of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 on Sunday.

The clash at the Suzhou Olympic Center Stadium comes 18 months after the last ball was kicked in Group A as the COVID-19 pandemic halted the Asian Qualifiers, with China eight points behind leaders Syria.

Although China have a match in hand, their hopes of advancing to the third round of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup depend on Syria dropping points in their remaining matches.

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Head coach Li Tie, however, will urge his players to focus only on Guam as finishing second in the group could also see China advancing to the third round of the Asian Qualifiers.

The eight group winners and four best second-placed teams will advance to the third round of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

The number of best second-placed teams to advance could increase to five should FIFA World Cup 2022 hosts Qatar win Group E - a point which Li Tie will undoubtedly stress to his players.

Asian Qualifiers - Preview: Group A

While China will start as favourites against a Guam side still searching for their first point after five matches, they will be mindful to the fact that they failed to win their last two matches prior to COVID-19 halting the Asian Qualifiers.

A goalless draw with the Philippines was followed by a 2-1 defeat to Syria, leaving China - seeking to make the FIFA World Cup Finals for only the second time - in a precarious position.

The defeat against Syria led to Italian FIFA World Cup winner Marcello Lippi resigning, paving the way for former international Li Tie to take over as China head coach.

"We are quite excited. From fans to the media, everyone is cheering for the Chinese national team in different ways. I would like to thank them for their support. We are ready for the match tomorrow, and we will play our best," said Li Tie.

"We are well prepared and will go all out at tomorrow's match. My players are now in very good form."

Suh Dong-won's Guam - despite being out of the running for a place in the next round of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifiers - will be up for the challenge as there is still the possibility of them winning an automatic spot in the next stage of AFC Asian Cup China 2023 qualification.

It will, however, be an uphill task as Li Tie has selected the best available players, including several naturalised stars, but with nothing to lose, Guam will surely give the tie their best.

Group A
Guam v China PR
Venue: Suzhou Olympic Center Stadium
Kick-off: Sunday, 19:30 (UTC+8)

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