12 October 2014 15:37
China continue their preparations ahead of a hectic 2015 schedule with a friendly against South American nation Paraguay on Tuesday.
The sides meet at the He Long Stadium in Changsha this week with both in the midst of a long spell without competitive action.
While Victor Genes’ Paraguay have only played friendlies since ending their unsuccessful qualification campaign for the World Cup in Brazil, China’s last competitive game came in March.
They rounded off their campaign to make the Asian Cup in Australia with a 3-1 defeat to Iraq but have beaten Kuwait and Thailand on home soil in recent weeks.
Alain Perrin’s men were comfortable in their 3-0 victory over the Thais at the Wuhan Sports Centre on Thursday, with the Frenchman eager to build momentum ahead of what he feels is an important year.
China will look to win the Asian Cup for the first time when the tournament takes place in Australia in January next year before contesting the latter half of the East Asian Cup on home soil in August.
No country has ever won the latter title as hosts and Perrin is eager to prepare well.
“In 2015, the national team has a very arduous task,” the Frenchman told a news conference on Saturday.
“In the first month we have the Asian Cup and in August there is the East Asian Cup and with the strength of the team there is a good chance.
“The hosts have never won the East Asia Cup but I hope next year I can break new ground and win the championship.”
Paraguay too will return to competitive action next year when they contest the Copa America in Chile, which gets under way in June.
Genes’ side go into the game off the back of a 2-0 defeat to South Korea – as goals from Kim Min-woo and Nam Tae-hee got the Uli Stielike reign up and running with a win.
Paraguay will be eager to find form ahead of the South American showpiece next year and Genes has been impressed with the response, having failed to qualify for the World Cup.
“What is important in this process of renewal is that many players are fighting to get back in the team,” he told a news conference after Friday’s defeat in Cheonan.
“It encourages us to continue thinking about the future and it can be integrated into the national team that will compete in the Copa America and the World Cup qualifiers.”
Paraguay will have to do without winger Marcelo Estigarribia, who has injured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.