China has hired World Cup-winning manager Marcello Lippi to head its national football team.
China’s football association on Saturday formally announced the hiring of the 68-year-old Lippi, who guided Italy to the 2006 World Cup title.
It’s the latest move by China in a national push to become more competitive in soccer. Under President Xi Jinping, a fan of the sport, China has set the goal of becoming a soccer superpower but its foray into football has so far been a failure. The men’s national team has qualified for just one World Cup, in 2002, and did not score a single goal.
Lippi replaces Gao Hongbo, who resigned after China’s Oct. 11 loss to Uzbekistan.