Marcello Lippi Rumored to be Coaching the Chinese National Football Team Again

Italian World Cup Champion coach Marcello Lippi will likely to be the head coach of the Chinese Men’s National Football Team again after stepping down from the position due to the earlier losses in the 2019 Asian Cup.

Chinese media Beijing Youth Daily reported via its official Weibo that the negotiation between Lippi and the Chinese Football Association went well. Lippi is happy with the terms that the CFA offered and says that these conditions are ‘very attractive’.

Interim coach of the Chinese National Football Team Fabio Cannavaro resigned from the position after leading the team to suffer two losses in the China Cup international friendly matches. China lost to Thailand and Uzbekistan in the two matches in the tournament with a score of 0-1 in each game. With two losses on the record, China finished last in this four-team cup matches.

While posting the announcement on social media, Cannavaro said that he intends to focus on his family and his professional club coaching responsibility. Cannavaro is currently coaching Guangzhou Evergrande, one of the top teams in the Chinese Super League. “With due respect for China as a great country, I feel it’s necessary to announce my decision to give up my position as the Chinese men’s coach.”

The 45-year-old Cannavaro made the announcement on social media and said it was to focus on his family and his job as coach of Chinese Super League (CSL) side Guangzhou Evergrande.

Cannavaro was assigned to the head coach position after Lippi’s departure from the team in March. However, the two losses after taking over the team made it difficult for the Italian to keep his job. Cannavaro also played in Lippi’s 2006 FIFA World Cup championship team and played as the central defender. In 2013, Cannavaro started his coaching career in the UAE professional club Al-Ahli and switched among different football clubs in Asia.

German football manager Jürgen Klinsmann and Dutch football manager Guus Hiddink were also the likely candidates for the Chinese National Team head coach position. However, Lippi was shortlisted for the job due to his prior experience with the struggling national team.

From October 2016 to January 2019, Lippi coached the Chinese National Team, during which the team played 30 games. Lippi’s Chinese national team achieved a record of 10 Wins, 9 Draws, and 11 Losses, with a winning percentage of 33.3%.

Comparing with his experience coaching the Italian National Team, the winning percentage significantly dropped. Lippi coached the Italian football team twice in the last decade, and achieved a winning percentage of 58.62% and 42.31% respectively. The Italian team qualified for both the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cup tournaments and claimed the championship title in 2006.

Lippi’s past success did not help the Chinese team meet the fans’ expectation. Despite having improved performances in the 2018 World Cup qualifier after his taking over the team, Lippi’s Chinese National Team finished Fifth in the Third Round of the 2018 FIFA Qualification games and thus failed to make an appearance in the World Cup finals in Russia.

Lippi led the Chinese National Team in the 2019 Asian Cup. After qualifying for the knockout stage and defeated Thailand with a score 2-1, the Chinese national team suffered from an embarrassing 0-3 loss against Iran.

Disappointed by the performance of his players, Lippi left the coaching position after the Chinese national team got eliminated from the Asian Cup tournament.

Marcello Lippi is expected to prepare this Chinese team for the upcoming 2022 World Cup in Qatar. It has been 20 years since the Chinese Men’s team qualified for the world cup, and the Chinese Football Association hopes to get into the tournament in 2022.

If the Chinese team successfully qualifies for the 2022 World Cup, it will be the second time for the team to make into the final stage of the tournament. During the team’s first appearance in 2002, China lost all three games in the group stage against Costa Rica, Brazil (the champion of the tournament), and Turkey (third place of the Tournament). The 2002 Chinese National Football Team did not score in the three matches and conceded 9 goals in total to its opponents. The Chinese team failed to qualify for all subsequent World Cup Finals in 16 years.

Featured photo credit to HUPU