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Chinese fans call for refunds and boo national side after 1-0 home loss to Syria

Chinese players walk off the pitch after losing 1-0 to Syria
Chinese players were booed following a friendly defeat by Syria

The Chinese men's football team were booed by fans who chanted for refunds and applauded their opponents after a 1-0 friendly home defeat by Syria.

China have won only four games in the last two years, all against teams ranked outside of the world's top 90.

Their latest defeat to the world's 94th-best team comes four months away from the Asia Cup and two months before Asian World Cup qualifying begins.

"It was a frustrating result for us," said China manager Aleksandar Jankovic.

China are ranked 80th in the world and their sole appearance at a men's World Cup was in 2002, despite having the world's second-biggest population.

Xi Jinping, the country's president, has said he wants China to be a "football power" and to host and win a World Cup before 2050.

An attendance of just 12,367 was reported at Tuesday's match in Chengdu, despite the stadium having a 60,000 capacity.

Chinese state-run news website The Paper reported fans booed and chanted for refunds, while videos from the stadium posted on social media show Chinese supporters applauding Syrian players after the game and booing the home team shouting "what a disgrace".

The official Weibo account for Chinese football teams attracted thousands of angry comments, one which said the national team "have no sense of honour or fighting spirit".

The China News Service, a state-run agency, says that it is "temporarily" hard to find support for the side.

The national team's struggles come after a big spending spree on foreign players by the Chinese Super League between 2015-2018, which has since declined.

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