Marcello Lippi looks to bring fear-factor after first China win
Marcello Lippi says he will try to instil a fearless attitude within his China squad after picking up his first win as national team boss after a penalty shootout victory over Croatia in the third place playoff of the inaugural China Cup on Saturday.
Wang Jingbin, who is on the books of Guangzhou Evergrande but has yet to make a senior appearance for the club, equalised for the Chinese two minutes from time after Luka Ivanusec had given Croatia the lead eight minutes before half-time.
However, Lippi's team secured the win with a 4-3 shootout victory after Josip Misic missed from the spot in the final round of penalties and the World Cup-winning coach praised his inexperienced squad for their performance.
"I want to tell all of my players that when we fight and give our best, even though we can't guarantee we will win every match, we won't be scared of anyone," said Lippi.
"My thanks to all of the players. Most of them, except Cai Huikang, hadn't played for the national team before. We faced strong opponents who were in good shape, and they were better than us in other aspects too.
"But we didn't give up from the very beginning and tactically we did well although we were very lucky to win on penalties."
China lost their opening game of the friendly tournament 2-0 against Iceland on Tuesday in what was the Italian's second game in charge, having seen his full strength side held to a draw in his debut by Qatar in November.
Lippi's next game in charge will be against South Korea in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup finals, before which he will hold a three-day training camp as he seeks to breathe life into the country's underwhelming attempt to book a place in Russia next year.
"We will have a training camp from February 10 for three days to prepare for the game against Korea," he said. "It won't affect the clubs' winter training. When I was the coach of Guangzhou Evergrande, the national team's winter training was 40 days long and 10 Evergrande players were all absent, so this time I think I can borrow three days from them."
Michael Church has written about Asian football for more than 20 years and mainly covers the Chinese game for ESPN FC. Twitter: @michaelrgchurch