China to qualify for second round of Asian Cup tonight

China will face the Philippines tonight knowing that a win will take them into the second round of the Asian Cup due to having six points. A draw would also possibly see them through as both Kyrgyzstan and the Philippines cannot beat each other in the final game. 

Huffing and puffing to victory

China relied on two goalkeeping mistakes to ensure that they won their first group game at the Asian Cup against a spirited Kyrgyzstan side that looked determined to enter the Asian Cup for the first time with a bang and they would have if not for their keeper dropping two massive howlers that allowed China to win the game.

I think it is going to be the same kind of game again against the Philippines who are unlikely to come out and attack much. I expect them to stick to the defensive blueprint we saw them use against South Korea, and therefore China will need to break them down, only they looked like the big bad wolf doing it in their opening match. China will huff and puff their way into the second round, but they won't be blowing any houses down. I cannot see them beating South Korea, so they're likely on course for a second place group finish. 

Still struggling for goals

China has struggled for goals in their friendly run up to this competition and that has continued as the tournament has commenced. Without the previously mentioned goalkeeping errors they would have lost the last game 1-0. They really do need the likes of Wu Lei to grab the bull by the horns and smash some goals in for them.

Could the reason China is struggling to score goals and break teams down lie in the fact that most of the Chinese Super League teams have bought fancy foreign players to play in those positions, therefore, the blokes who play there for the national team get less playing time at the highest possible level in China? Either way, any team who sets up against China in two compact defensive blocks looking to play counter-attacking football is going to be reasonably successful against this Chinese side.

This will be the same until they find someone who can smash down the brick wall with silky skills giving the opposition no choice but to come out and attack more. Until they get that silky attacking player, I believe China will continue to struggle on the international stage, and as many plaudits, as Wu Lei gets domestically I don't think the answers in this respect. Either way, Wu Lei is China's best hope right now, and people will be looking to the CSL's current leading Chinese goalscorer to produce some magic that will take them as far as possible in this tournament. The man needs big shoulders!

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