Head coach Marcello Lippi has praised the huge improvement in China football although the national team missed the opportunities for a second appearance at the World Cup finals.
“When I arrived we had only one point after four games,” the Italian said at a post-match press conference. “We were only a step away from Syria and Uzbekistan. In the home match against Qatar (0-0) we hit the woodwork three times and their goalkeeper was terrific, and in the away game against Syria (2-2), we were leading until the last minute,” Lippi said in the post-match press conference, as quoted by The Straits Times.
“We deserved victory in those two games, and if we had won we’d have four points more and have finished in second and be in the World Cup.”
China failed to qualify for Russia after they finished fifth in six-team Group A despite back-to-back victories in the last two qualifiers.