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INTERNATIONAL

Marcello Lippi steps down after China's defeat to Syria

Veteran coach Marcello Lippi's second stint in charge of China lasted just six months as he resigned on Thursday following the team's 2-1 defeat to Syria.

Lippi resigns after China lose to Syria

Marcello Lippi has resigned as China head coach after taking responsibility for a 2022 World Cup qualifying defeat to Syria.

China remain in the hunt for the third round of AFC qualification, having thrashed Guam and the Maldives while drawing with Philippines, but they were beaten 2-1 by Group A leaders Syria on Thursday. Zhang Linpeng scored an own goal 14 minutes from time to settle the match, leaving Lippi dismayed by both the result and the performance, swiftly announcing his departure.

We lost to a superior side - Lippi

"I don't want to talk about this game," he told a news conference. "A team should give everything on the pitch. The tactics of the head coach should be carried out. If the player is afraid of losing the game, then there is no fighting spirit, desire, guts. It is my responsibility, the head coach's responsibility – although we beat Guam and the Maldives. But the team we played against today is better, more coordinated and more organised than us. My annual salary is very high, and I am fully responsible for this loss. Now I declare that I have officially resigned."

Veteran coach Lippi, who guided Italy to World Cup glory in 2006, had only been appointed China boss for a second time in May. He was coach from October 2016 to January 2019, before returning when replacement Fabio Cannavaro – his World Cup-winning captain – promptly left.