Lippi resolves to seize 'last hope' for China's World Cup chance

Updated 2017-08-31 10:01:37 Xinhua

Marcello Lippi inspired Chinese national team to grab the "last hope" to enter the 2018 World Cup in Russia as his team faces a must-win scenario against Uzbekistan at home on Thursday in the penultimate fixture of Asian third round qualifying campaign.

"All the players try their every efforts in this training camp. I can see their ambitions and desires to the victory tomorrow," said Lippi in the pre-match press conference on Wednesday.

"Despite the place of the team in the group is not optimistic, we will try our best to seize the last hope," added by the Italian World Cup winning coach.

With two games left, China, collecting six points from eight matches in the provisional bottom of Group A led by Iran and South Korea, can only retain their slim hope to qualify for the World Cup by grabbing the third place to enter the fourth round qualifies for an intercontinental play-off berth.

However, the third place of the group is temporarily occupied by Uzbekistan with 12 points, which means China has to win all the rest two and hopefully the opponent tomorrow will lose in a row.

"We know Uzbekistan has a better chance than us to progress from the group. But we will show our dominance in the match and play with our tactical style to win it," said Lippi.

Chinese captain Zheng Zhi also showed his confidence and determination to get the three points.

"Tomorrow is our last home fixture. All of us look forward to playing in this match. So far, we have experienced ups and downs from the previous eight matches," said the 37-year-old veteran.

"Each match of the campaign is not easy. But we have to keep our confidence and concentrate on the match itself. We will fight for the victory to repay our fans' support."

Lippi, who took over the position from his predecessor Gao Hongbo in last October after China collected merely one point from the first four qualifiers, improved his side with a morale-boost 1-0 victory over South Korea in his second match in charge. But the last-gasp goal China conceded in an unexpected 2-2 draw against Syria in the last match made Team Dragon face an uphill battle to create a miracle in the road to Russia.

When asked whether he was nervous prior to the match against Uzbekistan, Lippi said the confidence is the most important factor.

"No, I'm not. As a professional coach, I'm satisfied with my job here as China's progress can be seen in tactical level, confidence and the performance in each match," said Lippi.

"The only thing I'm not satisfied is the ranking of our team. I feel very regretful for that. But I believe the players can also feel the improvement. The confidence for the victory is the key."

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