Lippi eyes win over Qatar on his debut as China coach

Kunming (China), Nov 14 (IANS) World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi, currently in charge of China, on Monday showed his determination to win the key football World Cup qualifier against Qatar on his debut here on Tuesday night.

“Our goal is to win, if we want to make the World Cup dream come true. We need points,” the 2006 World Cup-winning coach with Italy told a pre-match press conference here on Monday.

China have suffered a four-game winless run in the last stage of the Asian Zone qualifying campaign, collecting only one point and sitting at the bottom of the six-team Group A which includes South Korea, Iran, Uzbekistan, Qatar and Syria, reports Xinhua.

The top two of the group will advance to Russia 2018 World Cup directly after a home-and-away round-robin, and the third finisher will have a playoff against their counterpart in Group B.

But Lippi, who was officially appointed last month after local coach Gao Hongbo resigned, believed that China can play well.

“One point does not represent what the team can really do. There’s no such big gap between us and the others,” the 68-year-old Italian said through an interpreter. “In the past weeks, we worked very hard. I really believe we have very good players in the national team.”

“Of course, we need to be very well-organised on the pitch. With discipline and instructions, these players can play very good football,” he added.

China captain Zheng Zhi echoed the determination. “As the coach said, our goal is to get three points,” he said.

However, Lippi was cautious about China’s qualification for the 2018 World Cup finals.

“For qualification, now the situation is quite difficult. We need to do a lot of work in many aspects. Most of all, we need to restore our confidence as soon as possible to go ahead.

“I don’t know if we can achieve the miracle. But we’ll try our best. If we can’t succeed, we will continue our hard word for the next tournament, for the next stages,” he said.

Lippi, who led Guangzhou Evergrande to win Chinese Super League three times from 2012 to 2014 and stand on the Asian top podium for the first time in 2013, resigned from the club in February 2015. He became China coach on Oct. 22, 2016 and will serve till the end of the 2019 Asian Cup.

–IANS

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