Thursday, June 21, 2007

Zheng says China will give all for "national pride"

China captain Zheng Zhi believes his team can confound its critics and make the final of the AFC Asian Cup 2007. "I know that the national squad have shown some indifferent form in the past few friendlies but we are still on the right track and I believe we will be fully prepared when the Asian Cup starts. I feel both confident and some pressure. The Asian Cup is a major continental tournament and we have to give our all to maintain national pride. I am hopeful of reaching the semi-finals or even the final and will be doing my utmost to help the national team achieve that goal," he said.

Zheng impressed during a six-month loan at English Premier League club Charlton last season and said he felt his time in England was extremely beneficial. "I improved a lot after playing in the Premier League," he said. "I am more used to physical games, I have more confidence when controlling the ball and my pace has improved. And that will also be an advantage for the national squad because I can contribute more to the team."

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