SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates, June 11 (Xinhua) -- China kept their World Cup hopes alive after thrashing the Maldives 5-0 here on Friday.
Midfielder Liu Binbin, who was called up to the Chinese side prior to their departure for Sharjah on June 3, opened the scoring on a cross from Wu Lei in the fifth minute of the Asia second-round World Cup qualifier.
Wu, who plays for Spanish club Espanyol, made it 2-0 in the 30th minute when he put a through pass from Zhang Yuning past the Maldives goalkeeper Mohamed Faisal.
China's third goal came at the 66th minute when A Lan drove in a deft pass from Yin Hongbo, who substituted Wu after the break, at point-blank range.
Two minutes later, the Brazil-born player's striking partner Zhang Yuning found the net with an angled long shot.
Tan Long capped the routing with a header in the 80th minute, 11 minutes after coming on.
China, which sits second in Group A, will face their last second-round rival Syria, which has secured a spot for next round, on Tuesday.
China, currently five points off group leader Syria, can only hope to make the cut as one of the four best second-placed teams.