China disappoints against Japan in Olympic friendly

China's Olympic football team is still well shy of the performances it will need in order to fulfill the Chinese Football Association's goal of qualifying for the 2008 Beijing Games semifinals, Chen Xiangfeng reported for China Daily. He wrote the latest blow to the CFA's confidence came via lackluster warm-up matches against Japan and North Korea in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, last week. Despite home-soil advantage, a Chinese referee "who many believed favored the hosts" and its best possible U-22 line-up, China suffered an "ignominious" 0-1 loss to North Korea and scraped a dissapointing nil-all draw against Japan.

Japanese coach Yasuharu Sorimachiy said his heavily depleted side had used the warm-up tournament to give newcomers experience in the international arena. During the match, the well-organized Japanese outfit used pinpoint passing and superior teamwork to frequently beat China's defense, which often resorted to dangerous tackles to stop their opponents. Ironically, the Chinese referee awarded the home team 21 free kicks to Japan's eight. "It is disgusting," famous critic Ruan Xiongfei from Titan Sports wrote on his blog. "We should win by skills rather than by biased whistles. Such kind of official refereeing will not do anything good to the sport's development."

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