A late penalty kick from Gao Lin retained China’s slim hope of qualifying for 2018 World Cup as Marcello Lippi’s side beat Uzbekistan 1-0 at home on Thursday.
“I’ve been telling my players that, as long as there was a theoretical chance of qualifying that we should try our best,” said Lippi in the post-match press conference, as quoted by Reuters.
“It was already a miracle that we made it to the final 12 and we don’t have any reason to give up. Today, we are happy. We won and we made our fans happy.”
China will need to win over Qatar in Doha and rely on other results going their way if they are to snatch the third place in Group A with a play-off spot.
However, the former World Cup champion told his side to forget about the other teams in the group and just ensure they win in Qatar, who tumbled to the bottom of the table with a 3-1 defeat to Syria.
“We need to concentrate on ourselves to improve in the following days, I have not compared with other teams,” Lippi said.