Experienced China coach Eckhard Krautzun has won the hearts of China's fans with three straight victories. But now, the former Tunisia coach is having a problem: He will have to lead China against his own countrymen from Germany in the second round.
FIFA.com caught up with the 64-year-old to talk about how he copes with this dilemma.
Q: Your team face up to Germany in the round of 16, so what are your feelings about leading China against Germany?
A: Of course this is a bit strange, but it is nothing to do with personal feelings as it is my profession. As a coach what I am thinking about and doing is how we can win this match, no matter who are the rivals.
You know the Germany coach Michael Skibbe well?
Yes, we are good friends. But football is football and we are working hard on our respective jobs. We both want to win very much. But just as friendship will not have any influence on this match, the match will not hurt our friendship either - we will be still friends afterwards.
This is the second time China played against Germany recently. On 11 May your team drew with Germany on their home soil in a friendly. How much have you learned about the current team?
They are almost the same team as the side that played us in that friendly which ended 2:2, with only two or three new players. We have collected a lot of information about them and that's useful for our preparation.
So how do you rate your chances against Germany in the next match?
German players are always good at discipline and organization. They are also mentally strong and very clever. But they still have some weak points that we can exploit . In one word, we have a good chance against them.
What is your game-plan then?
We need to work to gain a stranglehold on the match and press them hard. By achieving this we should play a good passing game and keep the ball rolling and run tirelessly. What is more, German players are physically strong and good in the air. They are particularly good at set-pieces so we must play a clean match to avoid such mistakes.
Germany will miss their midfielder Oliver Hampel, but China also have to cope with the absence of striker Zhu Ting, who has been suspended for three matches...
This is a personal setback for the player and a blow for the team as well. He should have been taught a lesson. He is both physically and technically strong, so he is a potent weapon against European teams. It is a pity we have to play against Germany without him, but we have three more strikers and each of them is capable of filling the void left by him.
The German goalkeeper Rene Edlar pulled off some brilliant performances during the group stage...
He is a good 'keeper who only conceded one goal in three matches. Germany team are good at defence but we have made our own strategy to breach their rearguard.
Has the previous 2:2 been a boost to your team's confidence against Germany?
To win a match you need to play with confidence, but don't be over-confident. In our preparation meeting I told my players to keep their cool, but not get complacent. In knock-out stage the rivals are stronger and matches are tougher and we just can't afford any slips-up.
Should China get past Germany, then you would meet with Brazil - if they beat Syria. Would it be a big hill to climb against Brazil?
Brazil are always strong with talented players. But this Brazil team were not so impressive in group stage, where they were held to a goalless draw by Nigeria. But for the time being, what we should do is focus on our preparation against Germany.