WUHAN, China (AFP) - China's Steel Roses are riding high after their last-gasp heroics against Denmark, and are confident they have what it takes to beat high-powered Brazil on Saturday.
China go into their World Cup Group D match here with home advantage, buoyed by the knowledge that their once sputtering offence can score when it counts after topping Denmark 3-2 with a goal in the 88th minute.
"We have shown we are not easy to beat. We are on home soil and every one of us has the confidence we can beat them," said captain Li Jie.
Expectations for China are high with their Swedish coach Marika coach Marika Domanski-Lyfors having set them a target of reaching the semi-finals, and conquering Brazil will book them a place in the knockout rounds.
The South Americans hammered New Zealand 5-0 in their opener, and although the lowly ranked Kiwi's were out of their depth, it was still a flashy display of what world number eight ranked Brazil is capable of.
Neither Brazil nor China have won the World Cup, although the Asian side came close in 1999 only for the United States to emerge as champions on penalties in a nail-biting final.
If history is a guide, China and Brazil are closely matched, each having won twice and drawn three times.
"Against Brazil, China has the chance to win as long as we do not make mistakes in defence," former head coach Ma Yuan'an warned.
Aside from their World Cup final appearance, China were runner-ups at the Athens Olympics in 2004 but their prowess diminished after that and they are now ranked only 11th.
To prevail on Saturday they will have to find a way to stymie striker Cristiane, and the prolific Marta, who scored two against New Zealand to bring her international goal tally to 42 in 40 games.
Brazilian coach Jorge Barcelos expects China to be tough, but warned that his team is more than just Chistiane and 2006 player of the year Marta.
"We have many other players and they are here to show their talent," Barcelos said.
Brazil, this year's Pan American champions, currently lead China on goal difference but a win against the South Americans would assure the Steel Roses of a place in the second round.
In Saturday's other Group D match, an experienced but frustrated Danish side will meet New Zealend, a team participating in the World Cup for only the second time since their debut in 1991.
The 23rd ranked Kiwi's have their work cut out against a Danish side appearing in their fourth World Cup but which have never progressed beyond the quarter-finals.
Danish head coach Kenneth Heiner-Moller will be hoping to put behind him his team's loss to China after anger got the better of him when he refused to shake hands with his counterpart Domanski-Lyfors.
He has since apologised.
|Ibra-Rashford pairing the answer for United - Neville|
|Tevez hints at imminent retirement|
|England in safe hands with Southgate - Glenn|
|Holman talks up A-League quality|
|CONCACAF Champions League Review: Red Bulls progress, Timbers win|
|Januzaj blow for Sunderland|
|Navas accepts blame for Dortmund equaliser|
|Sporting assistant Raul Jose pleased with win|
|Nuno left to regret slow start as Porto fail on English soil again|
|Simeone: I am not Griezmann´s mentor|
|Vardy rejected Arsenal due to style|
|Schmidt bemoans ´brutal´ Monaco equaliser|
|Ranieri doesn´t trust bookies over England job|
|Genesio worried wastefulness will cost Lyon in long run|
|Preud´homme admits Champions League too much for Club Brugge|
|Telegraph passes findings to FA after further corruption claims|
|Zidane: Draw difficult to accept|
|Pochettino delighted with in-form Son|
|Vietto undeterred by wasteful showing|
|Tuchel: Dortmund can still get better|
|Resilient Leicester display pleases Morgan|
|Glenn reflects on ´painful´ call to dismiss ´distraught´ Allardyce|
|Borussia Dortmund 2 Real Madrid 2: Late Schurrle strike salvages draw|
|Monaco 1 Bayer Leverkusen 1: Glik stunner snatches a point|
|Dinamo Zagreb 0 Juventus 4: Pjanic pilots comfortable victory|
|CSKA Moscow 0 Tottenham 1: In-form Son hits late winner|
|Copenhagen 4 Club Brugge 0: Delaney stunner helps Danish champions canter to victory|
|Sporting CP 2 Legia Warsaw 0: Magiera´s first game ends in defeat|
|Sevilla 1 Lyon 0: Ben Yedder seals win for Europa League holders|
|Leicester City 1 Porto 0: Slimani continues to haunt old foes|
|Shearer: Allardyce has made England a laughing stock|
|Howe, Pardew and Wenger among the contenders to succeed Allardyce|
|Emery´s PSG struggles give Ludogorets hope|
|Allardyce offers ´wholehearted apology´ for England shame|
|Lahm: ´Extraordinary´ Griezmann different to Lewandowski|
|Iniesta is the best in the world, claims Menotti|
|Irregular heartbeat ends Dempsey´s season|
|Bournemouth ´realistic´ over permanent deal for Wilshere|
|Guardiola warns against complacency|
|Allardyce and England part company after damning video|
|De Bruyne out for up to three weeks - Guardiola|
|Luis Enrique demands fast start at Gladbach|
|Ancelotti wary of Atletico threat|
|Al Ain 3 El Jaish 1: Caio capitalises on late error|
|Ter Stegen happy with solution to Bravo battle|
|Emery: PSG need time to gel|
|Hernandez: It was very difficult at Real Madrid|
|Derby stand down Pearson ahead of Cardiff match|
|Rodgers sympathises with ´poor guy´ Allardyce|
|Opponents are trying to get Ribery send off - Hoeness|
|Martino named Atlanta United head coach|
|Rodgers urges Celtic to have belief against City|
|Rodgers has made same impact as Guardiola - Brown|
|Benfica one of the best in Europe, warns Sarri|
|Menotti: Ronaldo never played in a team like Messi´s|
|Walcott happy to move on from Arsenal struggles|
|Champions League Matchday Two: Bayern hunt Atleti revenge|
|Coquelin facing three weeks out|
|Arsenal transfers beyond reproach, says Wenger|
|Schubert extends Gladbach contract|
|Lewandowski urges Bayern to learn from Atletico defeat|
|Griezmann feared Simeone to PSG was ´a done deal´|
|FA investigating Allardyce claims|
|Valencia keep Voro in charge for Atletico clash|
|One of Serie A´s all-time greats: The numbers behind Totti at 40|
|Toure brands FIFA ´complacent´ after racism taskforce closed|
|Emery expects Ronaldo to stay at Real Madrid|
|Tottenham not scared of Moscow trip - Alderweireld|
|Sessegnon signs with Montpellier|
|Rakitic delighted with form|
|Gameiro: I could have joined Barcelona|
|Stones talks up Celtic quality|
|Liverpool good enough to win title - Houllier|
|Klopp happy with Firmino in central role|
|Watford got bullied all over the pitch - Deeney|
|Nuno keen for Porto to end England misery|
|Legia boss Magiera set for whirlwind debut|
|´Terrific´ Burnley delight Dyche|
|Burnley 2 Watford 0: Landmark goals for Hendrick and Keane seal first win in four|
|Schmidt lauds hitman Hernandez|
|Klopp not banking on Liverpool winning title|
|Kroos plays down Ronaldo rage rumours|
|Confidence coursing through Copenhagen|
|Madrid form draws no concern for Zidane|
|Burki looking forward to ´dream´ Madrid clash|
|Juve and Higuain have work to do - Allegri|
|CSKA boss Slutski wary of Tottenham threat|
|Pochettino: Kane to return within three weeks|
|City youngster Diaz signs three-year deal|
|Aurier vows to ´continue working hard´ for PSG despite prison sentence|
|Tuchel expecting Ronaldo on top form|
|Ter Stegen eyes new Barcelona deal|
|Hazard: No excuse for Arsenal defeat|
|Cisse back in training with Auxerre|
|Hummels resumes training ahead of Atletico clash|
|Facing Barcelona´s MSN not a nightmare, insists Bravo|
|Thiago: Atletico defence best in the world|
|Alonso wants to end career at Bayern Munich|
|Ranieri went to Slimani for Porto advice|
|Draxler: Wolfsburg blocked my exit|
|Samoura defends abolishment of racism task force|
|Sampaoli backs Nasri for France recall|
|Gisdol ´twitching with joy´ at Hamburg presentation|
|Zanetti determined Inter will return to the top|
|Getafe sack Esnaider|
|Bartra happy with playing time at Dortmund|
|Aurier handed two-month prison sentence over police altercation|
|Klopp attributes Lallana´s fine form to hard work|
|Totti´s wife slams ´small man´ Spalletti|
|Guardiola has already done an amazing job at Manchester City - Alonso|
|Referees attacked by hooligans in Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|Griezmann: I am not the anti-Benzema|
|Sterling hails Guardiola´s role in goalscoring form|
|Champions League Matchday Two: Madrid look for first win in Dortmund|
|Smalling confident Rooney will bounce back|
|Vardy fears ´permanent stain against my name´ following casino incident|
|Brave Wilshere will reap rewards of loan move - Howe|
|MLS Review: Sounders surprise Galaxy, Kamara double sinks New England|
|Walcott a special case - Wenger|
|Guardiola striving for more after perfect 10|
|Chelsea risk another mid-table finish, admits Conte|
|Montella feels AC Milan lacked courage|