Italian master Marcello Lippi exits China with pain, anger
It was an inglorious end to Lippi's over two-year tenure with the Chinese team.
Abu Dhabi - Queiroz heaps praise on Marcello
By Ashwani Kumar
Published: Fri 25 Jan 2019, 5:25 PM
Last updated: Fri 25 Jan 2019, 7:34 PM
Coach Marcello Lippi called it a day after China lost by three unanswered goals to Iran in the quarterfinals of the AFC Asian Cup 2019.
At 70 years, the Abu Dhabi outing might be the last coaching duty of the Italian master. And it was an inglorious end to his over two-year tenure for Lippi, who expected more fight from his boys.
While China conceded due to defensive errors, they could muster only five shots on goal to 18 by Iranians and had just one of them on target. China won no corner kicks too. The players failed to reflect Lippi's philosophy of team spirit and unity.
None can forget Lippi's days with the 'Old Lady' - the Serie A titles and Champions League trophy at Juventus and the granddaddy of them all - the 2006 World Cup. He made Fabio Cannavaro lift the title against France when the world thought otherwise following the match-fixing scandal that had left Italian football in tatters. The World Cup was a result of Lippi being able to knit together not just a team of players, formations and roles but a family where each member played for the other.
So it comes as no surprise that he was pained with 0-3 humiliation at the hands of Iran. At the post-match press conference, Lippi said he wasn't keeping well and wanted to leave.
"Many people may have expected this result against Iran but for me it was unacceptable to make such mistakes and lose by three goals. Iran are strong team and you cannot gift them such chances. But I thank all my players. They have put a lot of efforts and sacrifices but I am a bit angry about this performance. You can lose a match but not by making these mistakes. It was lack of concentration and attention," he said with a cold stare.
"I want to thank everyone here as this match ends my contract with Chinese national team. It has been a very big honour to coach such an important country. I tried my best during the period to improve this team. I was really hoping to end my tenure in a better way. I thank the Chinese fans. I will always be a big supporter of this team forever," he said and walked out to a standing ovation from reporters.
And later his Iranian counterpart Carlos Queiroz heaped praises on Lippi.
"It was a great honour, after many years, to be in a match side by side with Mr Lippi. It's a privilege to be in that situation. Surely it was a privilege for China, the work he did with this team was fantastic. It's pity that he isn't continuing with China. All these great coaches working in China and other countries can bring quick and consistent progress for football in the world. We cannot afford to release the services of coaches like Fabio Capello, Lippi and Sir Alex Ferguson because they built the game in last 20 years," Queiroz added.