Gao resigns after latest China defeat

China coach Gao Hongbo has resigned following the 2-0 defeat in Uzbekistan on Tuesday that dealt a further blow to the country’s hopes of reaching the 2018 World Cup.

Gao took charge for second time in February following Alain Perrin’s exit but could only manage a draw and three losses in the final round of Asian qualifying.

Tuesday’s loss in Tashkent leaves China bottom of the six-team Asian Group A after four of the 10 matches in the round, with the top two sides qualifying directly for Russia while the third-placed team can earn a World Cup spot via two playoffs.

“I spoke with the heads of the Chinese Football Association before the match and we agreed if we couldn’t reach a positive result against Uzbekistan I would stand down from my post,” Gao told the Asian Football Confederation website.

“As a result of this defeat, I bring an end to my time in charge of the China national team. I want to thank to all the fans and media which supported us during the games. I hope the China national team will be better in the future and we will meet in football again.”

China have only ever appeared in the World Cup finals once in 2002, when they lost all three games without scoring a goal in Japan and South Korea.