China coach Alain Perrin was jubilant after his side’s first Asian Cup knockout stage qualification in 11 years, but the Frenchman warned that any match against a Group A side could be an uphill battle.
The 2004 runners-up recorded a 2-1 come-from-behind win against Uzbekistan on Wednesday night to clinch the first of two quarter final spots for Group B.
“It’s very important [for Chinese football],” Perrin said after the match. “We’ve reached our target after two games.
“[Beating two big opponents] is good for [the team’s] confidence, but we need to continue to improve our level because in the quarter final we’ll need to play better.”
China will face either hosts Australia or South Korea, depending on the results on the Saturday encounter at Brisbane Stadium.
“[Australia] were very impressive in their first two games. I think it’s better if we don’t play against them,” Perrin admitted. “Korea [will be difficult] as well, but it’s good for us to have to prove what we can do against a strong team.”
The former Ligue 1 manager admitted that two games in the testing conditions of Brisbane were a challenge: “When it’s humid it’s difficult to play football, it’s difficult to run for everyone.”