India's efforts stir up China, fans call for Marcello Lippi's sacking
'270 minutes of friendlies and 0 goals, Lippi and the national team are in crisis', wrote China's People Network after the Sino-Indian football game on Saturday ended in a damp squib.
Marcello Lippi, one of the highest paid national team coaches in Asia has been put under immense scrutiny by fans and media alike. His China side have failed to score in three straight games, all three against opponents ranked lower than them.
Fans in the Suzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium saw the likes of national hero Gao Lin and Wu Lei hit the crossbar and head the ball into the keeper's gloves multiple times but they were unable to find the breakthrough.
Xinmin.cn reports that fans were in shock after the game and screams that roughly translated into 'better disband the Chinese team' could be heard around the stadium. The headline in the morning read: 'Lippi, leave if you want to go'.
The article in harsh words stated that the 70-year-old could bother less with his side's inability to find the back of the net as he 'enjoys old-age' in China as he is set to retire after the Asian Cup in January next year.
Lippi, the only manager to win the FIFA World Cup, UEFA Champions League and the AFC Champions League has had a dismal record with China since his appointment in November 2016.
He has overseen only seven wins in nineteen games in-charge and in 2018, China has managed to score only four times, twice against Thailand and one each against Myanmar and the Czech Republic.
In what was dubbed as the 'Earth Derby' by the Chinese media, the 0-0 draw against India has been deemed as a disaster for the 76th ranked team. Also praising the way India went about their business on Saturday, People Network in their editorial went on to write:
'The national team has not scored in September and October. Can you believe the national football team will go to play in the Asian Cup next year in this state?
Some people said that India would be easy pickings for China, India is still 10 years behind in Asian Football. Regardless of the rise in the international rankings of Indian football in the past three years, or from the actual scene of last night's game, the Indian team's strength as compared to the national football team is not too big. The Indian team is only lacking in the individual ability of the players, but in the overall tactical thinking and partial tactical cooperation, it can even be said that last night they were slightly better than China.'
Lippi, who is regarded as the 'Silver Fox' drew criticism from JQK News. The publication shed light on how keeping Lippi till the Asian Cup will only be detrimental to China's long-term plans as he seldom looks towards to youthful players to bring into the national team fold.
Hangzhou News questioned the system that put Lippi and his school of thought in place after it was reported that 55 U-23 players, who Lippi deemed unfit for the national scheme of things were put into military training alongside the national camp before the India game.
Stating how India's youth have shown promise in recent times, after beating Argentina U-20 and that China have been going the opposite way, it read:
'If you think about the Indian team's leaps and bounds where their U20s can even beat the Argentine team, in China's national men's football camp, the shaven-head boys are in preparation to undergo military training, so I wonder who will be more desperate?'
Aftermath: The Chinese media have asked @MisterLippi to leave if he wants.— Swapnaneel Parasar (@Swapyo) October 14, 2018
Also, regarded @StephenConstan, @GurpreetGK & @SandeshJhingan highly.
Can't remember the last time when @IndianFootball had such an impact on foreign shores. SOLID.#CHNvIND #BackTheBlue #IndianFootball pic.twitter.com/MXcgTpMlGy
In the mixed zone after the match, reporters gathered were desperate to get a piece of Sandesh Jhingan, the newly crowned leader. The media praised him for his efforts and also regarded goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and coach Stephen Constantine highly.
India's stubbornness in defence to not concede a goal has now created a pandemonium as the mighty neighbours have stood up and taken notice. After breaking from the shackles of being considered minnows in the continent, such a result could only spur confidence going into the Asian Cup.
As for Lippi in China, it will be make or break against Syria on Tuesday in Nanjing.