BEIJING, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- Chinese players' limited technical and tactical awareness were the main reasons for their poor performances in the FIFA World Cup qualification campaign, said former Chinese international Wang Xiaolong.
Wang said he saw the writing on the wall even before the Chinese side started their campaign in early September.
"The results of their campaign were easily expected, and it's a certainty that the head coach and his players will be harshly criticized," he said.
China head coach Li Tie is under fire after his team won one and lost three of their first four games in the final round of Asia's FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
But according to Wang, who won his first cap under former Real Madrid coach Jose Antonio Camacho in 2012, the reason for China's dismal performances was a deep-rooted one rather than because of any shortcomings on Li's part.
"Many big-name overseas coaches came and took over the national team only to leave in frustration without being able to make any positive changes," he said.
"We also had some high-profile overseas players in the Chinese Super League, and what they complained most in private was that the Chinese players were too lacking in technical and tactical awareness," he said.
"And the foreign coaches in the CSL value tactics most, and many times we saw them shaking their heads with wry smiles on the sidelines," he said.
"Our Chinese players are streets behind their foreign contemporaries in their understanding of the game," Wang said.
He doubted that even Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho or Jurgen Klopp could notably raise China's level.
"I am keen to see if they could turn themselves into Harry Potter waving his magic wand to bring China to the World Cup finals," he said.
China returned home from Saudi Arabia on Thursday after 48 days on the road.
They now face Oman on November 11 before meeting Australia five days later.
With one win and three losses, China currently sits nine points behind Group B leader Saudi Arabia, which has the maximum 12 points from their first four games. Australia stays in second place with nine points.
The top two from both six-team groups qualify directly for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The two third-placed teams will then face each other in a two-legged playoff, with the winner of that tie entering an intercontinental playoff.