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China ready to kick off AFC Beach Soccer Asian Cup in Thailand

BANGKOK, March 16 (Xinhua) -- China's beach soccer team is eyeing a strong performance at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Beach Soccer Asian Cup 2023, which kicked off on Thursday.

China is competing in Group C against defending champion Japan, Indonesia and Lebanon in Thailand's eastern resort city of Pattaya.

China will face Lebanon in its first match on Friday.

Despite failing to advance past the group stage in the previous two editions, Chinese team head coach Marcelo Mendes believes his team has a good chance of advancing from the group.

"We came here with a target and that is to be first in our group," Mendes told a pre-match press conference on Thursday. "It will not be easy but we will do our best."

"Japan are the strongest team, however, we cannot forget the other teams like Lebanon and Indonesia, who have been working very hard. We will work hard to produce a strong performance," he said.

With a total of 16 teams, the AFC Beach Soccer Asian Cup 2023 also serves as the qualifiers for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2023, which is scheduled to be played in November.