Work in Sports
Australian assistant: China's the best
Posted: Thursday June 01, 2000 10:44 AM
SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- Australian assistant women's soccer coach Ian Murray said Thursday that he rates China, the No. 2-ranked team in the world, ahead of the top-rated and World Cup-champion United States.
Murray, who has taken over as Australian head coach while Chris Tanzey is in England following the death of his mother, made the comment after watching a video of China's 1-0 win over the United States on Wednesday in the opening match of the six-team Pacific Cup.
"They're [the Chinese] ranked number two in the world but I consider them to be the best," Murray said.
"I think the U.S. are a good side. They're an athletic side and good technically with the ball but the Chinese just keep the ball so well. They're a real footballig team and I think they'll be the hardest to beat."
Australia, ranked No. 11 in the world, will be the underdogs on Friday when they play China at the Sydney Football Stadium. Japan, beaten 1-0 by Australia on Wednesday, plays New Zealand and Canada, which beat the Kiwis 2-1, takes on the Americans in Friday's other matches.
Murray said the Chinese players were so good at retaining the ball that the Australians would hang off them in defense.
"Mostly we're going to play our own game and let them worry about us," he said.
Canada has never beaten the United States in women's soccer. The American loss to China ended an eight-match unbeaten streak since losing to Norway after the World Cup.
On its last tour of Australia, the Americans were undefeated while beating Australia, Sweden and the Czech Republic.
Players on all six teams will be hoping for milder conditions on Friday. On Wednesday in the opening match, a blast of cold air that has seen temperatures plummet on the Australian east coast reduced the temperatures at Canberra's Bruce Stadium to 0 Celsius (32F).