Fabio Cannavaro's short reign as China coach could already be
over after the hosts were beaten for the second time in five days
on Monday and again failed to score.
The World Cup winner was put in charge 10 days ago, but local
media had speculated that the China Cup amounted to an audition
to be fellow Italian Marcello Lippi's long-term successor.
If that was the case, the 45-year-old legendary defender fluffed
The home side followed up Thursday's 1-0 loss to Thailand with
another disjointed display in the four-team tournament, going
down 1-0 to lower-ranked Uzbekistan.
In front of a sparse crowd for the mid-afternoon match in
Nanning, China failed to muster a shot on target and there was a
smattering of jeers at the final whistle.
Former Juventus and Real Madrid star Cannavaro, who is also coach
at Guangzhou Evergrande, said afterwards that he would hold talks
with the Chinese Football Association (CFA) and the Chinese Super
League (CSL) club.
"But until now the CFA hasn't made any clear statement about the
appointment," he said.
"I have said before: taking over the national football team can
be a very big challenge. The bigger the challenge, the greater
the passion will be.
"As the national team is experiencing changes, we all have some
concerns about the pace and degree of the changes.
"If (China) needs me, I will consider it, but who can be the
coach of the national team cannot be decided in one day."
Juggling a top CSL job and the national side "is difficult",
Cannavaro admitted, after another meek defeat that left China --
who have grand ambitions to host a World Cup and become a major
footballing force -- bottom of the four sides in the China Cup.
"We still need to calm down and discuss it. If we cannot find a
suitable way to cooperate, I will still coach Evergrande (only)."
Cannavaro made five changes to the side lucky to lose by just one
goal to Thailand last week, but it only made China -- missing the
rested Espanyol forward Wu Lei -- less effective.
They were already on the back foot when forward Eldor Shomurodov
took advantage of hesitant defending by Evergrande's Zhang
Linpeng on 35 minutes to lash the ball into the roof of the net
for Uzbekistan, who are 89th in the FIFA rankings to China's
Uzbekistan, soundly defeated 3-0 by Uruguay on Friday, were also
the better team in the second half and should have extended their
lead, but China-based substitute Odil Ahmedov headed straight at
goalkeeper Yan Junling.
Uruguay and Thailand play later Monday in the final of the annual