China coach quits after football loss
Photo Source: AP
Gao Hongbo has quit as China's football coach after his side's 2-0 loss in a World Cup qualifier against Uzbekistan.
The defeat on Tuesday leaves China with one point from four games in Asia's last round of qualifying for Russia in 2018.
"I spoke with the heads of the Chinese Football Association before the match and we agreed if we couldn't reach a positive result against Uzbekistan I would stand down from my post,'' Gao said.
Marat Bikmaev and Otabek Shukurov scored a goal each in Tashkent as Uzbekistan outclassed China, who lost 1-0 at home to Syria five days previously.
China has only appeared at one World Cup, in 2002.
Despite the poor record on the international stage, there has been massive investment in Chinese soccer in recent years.
Clubs in the Chinese Super League have spent more than $US400 million ($A530 million) on foreign players in 2016 alone.
Despite the massive investment from the private and public sector - the government is also focusing on youth development - the standard of the national team will take longer to improve.
There are six games remaining in the round, including one next month when China hosts Qatar.
The Chinese technically have time to qualify but with unbeaten Iran leading the group with 10 points, one clear of Uzbekistan and three ahead of South Korea, the chances of China qualifying for Russia 2018 appear remote.
The top two of the six teams in Groups A and B will qualify automatically for the World Cup, with the two third-place teams going to a fourth-round match to decide which of them makes the intercontinental playoffs.