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Arsenal can lay down a marker


Fabregas the focus vs. Arsenal

By ESPN Staff

China humiliated by Germans but chief confident

BEIJING, Jan 14 (Reuters) - China's soccer chief remained confident of his team's Olympic chances despite a 7-2 drubbing at the hands of German club Bayern Munich at the weekend.

The under-23 side's humiliation at the Allianz Arena made it a bad weekend all round for Chinese football as the senior had earlier been beaten 4-0 by SV Hamburg in the Dubai Challenge Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

'The team's performance today is acceptable,' Xie Yalong told the Chinese Football Association (CFA) Web site.

'Everybody has done their best. The major task for the team is the preparation for this August's Olympics, closing the gap on the strong teams.'

Serbian coach Ratomir Dujkovic, who has overall control of both squads but is concentrating on the Olympic campaign until August, was not so upbeat but said such results should be kept in perspective.

'The result made me feel a bit disgraced ... I feel hurt,' he told Soccer News. '(But) we shouldn't lose heart because of defeats in friendlies.'

The Chinese media were not optimistic.

'We refuse to pay attention to the Chinese football even to slag it off,' read the headline in Beijing News commment.

Beijing Youth Daily found solace in the two goals China's best player scored for Charlton Athletic in England's Championship.

'Zheng Zhi the only hope,' read their headline.

While the Olympic team continue their European tour with a match in Lyon on Wednesday, the senior side have returned home to prepare for the first 2010 World Cup qualification match against Iraq on Feb. 6.

'We will surprise Iraq,' said Vladimir Petrovic, who is looking after the team under his compatriot's guidance.

'I'm still confident.'