Reporter Han Bing reports With the national football team’s 1-1 draw with Australia, the top 12 matches ended in six rounds, which ushered in an interval of more than two months. With four rounds left, China is 11 points behind the top Saudi Arabia, 7 points behind the second Japanese and 6 points behind the third Australian, and the qualifying probability is basically zero. After the game, head coach Li Tie also held a 32-minute press conference, which was a comprehensive summary of the first six rounds. Unfortunately, Li Tie’s "personal summary", as before, has caused widespread controversy. The next day, Li Tie continued to publish pictures and texts on social networks, which once again set off a wave of public opinion.
Against the background that the Top 12 Competition has come to an end, facing the unspeakable outstanding achievements of the national football team and various controversies caused by the words and deeds of head coach Li Tie, the China Football Association must give an explanation to the national football team, the relevant parties in the league and the fans who love China football as soon as possible.
Earlier, the media said that the renewal of the contract between the Football Association and Li Tie was to "train handsome" for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers. After six games before the Top 12, from tactics to employing people, and then to the controversy that triggered off-court public opinion storm, it became a question whether it is necessary for Li Tie to continue to "practice". The probability of qualifying is almost zero. Under the background that the remaining four top 12 games next year are only meaningful for training, it is necessary to have a clear conclusion from whether the coach will stay or not, how to use the naturalized players, and whether the Chinese Super League will continue to make way for the top 12 games. After all, the national football team is about to prepare for the 2023 Asian Cup, followed by the 2026 World Cup qualifiers. It is not too late to make up for the coach’s choice. Now, the national football team will have at least three years to bring a new atmosphere to the new coach.
The World Cup qualifiers are the most important events of the national football team. It is hard to understand how to "train handsome" in such an important event. After all, even if the national football team originally had a low probability of qualifying for strength reasons, it is not the reason to "train handsome" with the most important events. What’s more, in terms of preparation, training, personnel selection, tactics and contingency, Li Tie has shown his incompetence as a national football coach, which has also caused more unnecessary disputes outside the stadium. If the national football team wants to make a breakthrough in the local Asian Cup in 2023 and the World Cup qualifiers in 2026, it should make a decision and make a choice early.
The great controversy caused by Li Tie’s use of naturalized players has proved that he misjudged the ability of naturalized players, which directly affected the national football team’s record and led to the complete disillusionment of the qualifying hope that there was still a chance. Regardless of foreign or local handsome, nationality is not an amulet, but whether it has the ability to make the national football performance go up a storey still higher is the key. It is an act of putting the cart before the horse to deprive the national football team of the most important growth opportunity just for the sake of "training handsome", and the China Football Association must root out the root cause.
If the coach’s ability is insufficient, we can still give Li Tie more time. However, Li Tie’s prejudice against naturalized players failed to maximize the strength of the national football team, which also directly affected the performance of the national football team. In the face of his mistakes in employing people, tactics and coping with emergencies, Li Tie failed to take the initiative in many statements. Instead, he blamed the poor performance of the national football team on many objective factors, such as losing the home court, long-term training, naturalized players’ physical condition and so on, without the sense of responsibility and overall situation that the national football coach should have.
What’s more, when the national football team almost lost the hope of qualifying because of his personal mistakes, and the public opinion and fans were extremely dissatisfied, Li Tie, as the coach of China national team, repeatedly posted inappropriate pictures and texts on social networks, causing even greater public controversy. Even when the outside world was generally dissatisfied with the performance of the national football team, advertisements were posted on the homepage of personal social networks, and pictures suspected of infringing on the rights and interests of national football sponsors were deleted after being pointed out by the media. Judging from the action of deleting pictures, Li Tie released Weibo, who was suspected of product placement, the day after the top 12 competition. It was definitely not approved by relevant parties, and the advertising behavior suspected of infringing the rights and interests of the official equipment sponsors of the China Football Association was even more unacceptable to public opinion and fans. Li Tie caused such a huge controversy inside and outside the stadium, with poor performance and shirking responsibility. Is he still suitable to continue as the coach?
China Football Association must also face more thorny problems caused by the Top 12 matches, including the resumption of the Super League, whether the Super League will continue to make way for the Top 12 matches next year, and how to deal with the messy wage crisis in the Super League. All these require the Football Association to take the attitude of being responsible for football in China, assess the situation, and come up with a solution that conforms to the objective laws of football as soon as possible and can minimize the negative impact on all parties concerned.
In a word, it is the eventful autumn of football in China, and more than two months have been reserved for the Football Association in the Top 12. For the future of football in China, it is time for the Football Association to make a decision. ???