China PR end warm up with win
© AFP

China PR tuned up for the looming FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers by beating visiting Honduras 3-0 in Wuhan city today, ending a run of three warm up games in five days with one win and two draws.

Unmarked midfielder Huang Bowen kicked off the scoring in the 17th minute taking a Hao Junmin cross from the byline and easily slotting home as the Honduran defenders looked on.

China PR's second came 20 minutes later when striker Yang Xu neatly placed a fine centered pass from Hao into the far corner of the net for a 2-0 lead.

Hao again got the assist for China PR's third, centering a counter-attack cross onto the foot of Yang, who netted the ball sweetly in the 86th minute.

China PR's campaign for 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying began bizarrely after the team was divided into two squads due to a scheduling conflict. Squad A played a 1-1 draw with New Zealand in Wuhan on Friday, while Team B drew with Costa Rica 2-2 in San Jose on Sunday.

Although coach Gao Hongbo missed the New Zealand match, he was at his post with Team B in Costa Rica and hurried to Wuhan to coach Squad A in today's game. New Zealand, Costa Rica and Honduras all rank higher than China PR in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking.

The two squads had been selected after Gao invited a total of 40 players to train for the national side ahead of qualifying, which begins in late June.

In China PR's first and only appearance in a FIFA World Cup in 2002, the team failed to win a match or even score at the event, jointly hosted by Japan and Korea Republic.

Their failure to reach the knockout stages of the 2011 AFC Asian Cup in Doha two months ago further deepened fan frustration over the inability of the world's most populous nation to succeed in the world's most popular sport.

Gao, 45, the youngest person to coach China PR's national team, was tasked with qualifying for Brazil 2014 when he took the helm in May 2009. He has overseen a steady rise up the rankings from 108 to a current position of 76.