The Chinese Football Association (CFA) confirmed on Thursday that Marcello Lippi will remain as their coach at least until the 2019 Asian Cup. Lippi, who took charge of China last October, replacing Gao Hongbo has been under fire for the team’s disappointing results – his only win was the 1-0 victory over Korea Republic in March.
Lippi with just one win as China coach
But the CFA issued a statement on their official website, confirming their faith in the Italian amid reports in the media that the 69-year-old could be facing the axe. “We will honour our contract with Lippi which expires after the 2019 Asian Cup”, the statement read, before adding, “We will not interfere either with his preparation of the team or his line-up selection. In the meantime, we will support his work as always. We hope to support and trust each other”.
Very slim hope of qualifying for 2018 Russia
China lie bottom of their 2018 World Cup qualifying group with just six points from eight games. Lippi’s team take on Uzbekistan in Wuhan on 31 August and then Qatar in Doha on 5 September - their final two qualifying matches.
Despite their position in Group A, there is still an outside chance for China, who have only appeared once at the World Cup, to qualify for next summer’s showpiece. That would involve winning both of their remaining matches and relying on other results going their way.
China and Lippi will be hoping that the team’s fortunes have improved by January 2019 when they take part in the AFC Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates. The tournament will feature 24 teams for the first time, having expanded from the 16-team format used since 2004. China’s best performance in the competition was when they finished as runners-up, losing the 2004 final to Japan.