QATAR – went through the worst Asian Cup ever and was at risk of being eliminated from the group stage, but coach Aleksandar Janvkovic is still optimistic about Chinese football.
Yesterday, China lost 0-1 to host Qatar in the final round, thereby ranking third with two points in Group A. In the third group of teams, they are also below Bahrain and Indonesia with one point less. The chance of being in the group of four teams to win tickets is very slim for China, when the teams in the remaining three groups all have the ability to advance.
Finishing the group stage with two points and no goals is China’s worst performance since their first Asian Cup appearance in 1976. Before the 2023 Asian Cup, they stopped in the group stage three times in 1980, 2007 and 2011. , but won runner-up twice in 1984 and 2004, ranked third twice in 1976 and 1992, ranked fourth twice in 1988 and 2000, and reached the quarterfinals three times in 1996, 2015 and 2019.
“We can’t expect anything if we don’t score,” coach Aleksandar Janvkovic said at the press conference after the match at Khalifa International Stadium. “I’m disappointed and can only wait for the results of other groups to know the fate of the home team.”
When asked if Chinese football is in decline, Coach Jankovic replied: “Even though we did not score, we showed that the team is still progressing in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers and Chinese football will never go backwards.”.
Coach Jankovic believes that everyone can have different opinions, but it is difficult to conclude through just one incident. He recalled that if the goal in the opening match against Tajikistan had not been rejected by the referee, it would have been different now. As for the Qatar match, in fact, in the first half, China created at least four scoring opportunities but Wei Shihao wasted them all. Besides, Jankovic believes that Asian football does not have any weak teams and the gap between teams is increasingly narrowing.
Since leading the U19 team in 2018, the Serbian coach has spent six years with Chinese football. Under pressure to be fired, he also stubbornly said that in the world there are only two types of coaches, including those who are fired and those waiting to be fired. “If you’re afraid, you won’t be able to be a coach,” said the coach born in 1972. “My job is to try my best to force players to perform at their best.”