SHANGHAI China coach Gao Hongbo has resigned in the wake of a 2-0 defeat in Uzbekistan on Tuesday that dealt a further blow to the country's hopes of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.
Gao returned for a second stint as coach of his country in February after the dismissal of Frenchman Alain Perrin but has overseen one draw and three defeats in the final round of Asian qualifying.
"I spoke with the heads of the Chinese Football Association before the match and we agreed if we couldn't reach a positive result against Uzbekistan I would stand down from my post," Gao told the Asian Football Confederation website.
"As a result of this defeat, I bring an end to my time in charge of the China national team. I want to thank to all the fans and media which supported us during the games. I hope the China national team will be better in the future and we will meet in football again."
Tuesday's defeat in Tashkent leaves China bottom of the six-team Asian Group A after four of 10 matches in the round. The top two qualify directly for Russia with the third-placed side offered a passage to the finals via two playoffs.
China have appeared in the World Cup finals only once in 2002, when they lost all three games without scoring a goal.
(Writing by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by Greg Stutchbury)