Football

Lippi wants Team Dragon to keep flying

WORLD CUP QUALIFIER (ASIA, GROUP A)
IRAN CHINA

China's fledgling revival under Marcello Lippi will be tested by Asia's top team Iran in a World Cup Asian qualifier today.

China shocked South Korea 1-0 last week for their first win in their final qualifying group and the 68-year-old Lippi said there is much more to come from Team Dragon.

The Italian tactician, who coached Italy to World Cup victory in 2006, has been hailed as a hero for fashioning China's rare win over South Korea, which hauled them off the foot of Group A with four games left.

He said China now need to maintain their momentum.

They are five points behind an automatic berth and have games to come against Syria, Uzbekistan and Qatar, after their trip to Teheran.

"We worked hard to get the three points we needed (against South Korea)," Lippi said.

"But it is not enough to win a ticket to the World Cup. We need to continue this momentum and win the following matches.

"We still can improve. We didn't play the same level as we did in the last match against Qatar."

However, playing Carlos Queiroz's Iran away is a different proposition to last week's home game in Changsha and Lippi said China cannot afford to sit back in the Azadi Stadium.

"In the first half, we played too defensively when we were under pressure. I don't want to see the same 45 minutes in the following matches any more," he said.

"In the second half, my team were well-organised in defence and created several chances to score. We still have much work to do." - AFP


OTHER GROUP A FIXTURES

  • South Korea v Syria
  • Uzbekistan v Qatar
World CupChinaIRAN