Beware of sharks: Queiroz wary as Iran storm into Asian Cup semis

China coach Lippi resigns after Asian Cup exit

China coach Lippi resigns after Asian Cup exit

"There is no room for mistakes for they will punish you every chance they get", added the World Cup victor.

Before he penned the deal in 2016 with then-CFA president Cai Zhenhua, Lippi was poised to return to Guangzhou Evergrande, where he helped the team bag four major titles, but the club canceled Lippi's contract to give the national team a better choice. But for me it was a match beyond my expectation because we can't make mistakes as such [to lose the game]. The Italian had already said that he would not sign another contract but some in China had hoped he might reconsider if his team managed to land a maiden continental title in the United Arab Emirates.

Making the remarks in a pre-match press conference in Abu Dhabi's Mohammad bin Zayed Stadium on Wednesday, he said, "No two games in football are ever the same, in football it is always a different story".

Though China failed to make into the 2018 World Cup, Lippi moved to put younger players on the pitch, aiming to build a legacy that could vary his team's play in the long term.

"I thank my players for their efforts but not for what they did tonight". However, Iran were a class above and only the most die-hard of Chinese supporters would have expected them to reach the semi-finals. "I'm a bit angry, this was just a lack of concentration".

Lippi, widely recognised as being one of the finest coaches of his generation, led Italy to the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

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Where the Chinese Football Association goes next will be a matter for some contemplation.

"Obviously, Iran are one of top teams in Asia, they played at the World Cup past year", Lippi told reporters on Wednesday.

"China made a great evolution under Lippi", said the former Real Madrid coach, who twice had spells as Ferguson's assistant manager at Old Trafford.

"The players are better prepared, better organised".

"It's a pity that Mr Lippi can not stay with China but that, of course, that is his decision". A number of players, such as captain Zheng Zhi, are also expected to call time on their worldwide careers ahead of next year's Olympic Games in Tokyo.

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