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  • Reuters

    Soccer-China handed tough draw in World Cup preliminaries

    China have been handed a daunting task to reach the 2022 World Cup after being drawn in the same group as Japan, Australia and Saudi Arabia in the final round of Asia's preliminaries. The draw, which took place in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, also placed Oman and Vietnam, the rising stars of Southeast Asia, in Group B. Japan, Australia and the Saudis took three of the continent's five places at the last World Cup in Russia and will present a significant barrier to China's hopes of qualifying for the tournament for the first time since their debut in 2002.

  • Reuters

    Newsmaker: Soccer-Li in line to continue in China's impossible job

    China's success-hungry football fans place crushing demands on the national team and no one knows that better than the current coach, former Everton midfielder Li Tie. Since President Xi Jinping, an avid football fan, said in 2011 that his dream was for China to qualify for, host and then win the World Cup, that pressure has only intensified. World Cup winner Marcello Lippi was made one of the best paid coaches in the world to achieve goal number one, but walked away in November 2019 following a damaging 2-1 loss against Syria.

  • Reuters

    Soccer-Qatar says only vaccinated fans allowed at World Cup 2022

    Qatar will only allow people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend next year's World Cup and is in talks to secure one million doses in case global immunisation efforts lag, the prime minister said. The Gulf Arab state hosts the four-week tournament in November 2022 and the president of global soccer body FIFA has said the matches would be held in full stadiums. Prime Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani told newspapers that while most countries were expected to have vaccinated their citizens by then, Qatar was still taking measures to ensure a successful event.