but I want to be here when we play England at Hampden. Highlights

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BEIJING -- A native of Shanghai, a city synonymous with the Chinese growth miracle, Yi Weizhong watched up-close as his country morphed into a world economic powerhouse.Yet he cant envisage anything like that happening on the international football scene, doubting that even a coach of Marcello Lippis caliber can transform the dismal national team into a genuine World Cup contender.Its not worth hiring Lippi, Yi said, referring to the 2006 World Cup-winning managers appointment as head coach of the Chinese team.I would rather hire more good coaches for youth training, added Yi, a salesman, who attended a game last week at Shanghais Hongkou stadium. I cant see hope for the next 10 years.Ever since the Chinese Football Association announced last month it had coaxed Lippi out of retirement, the national teams long-suffering fans have greeted the news with indifference, cynicism, and even a hint of outrage.Rather than celebrating the appointment of the most high-profile coach China has ever had, some supporters have balked at the size of Lippis rumored contract.A popular joke circulating on the Wechat messaging service compares it with a nouveau riche family hiring a Harvard professor to tutor their kid.Given the teams record of failure under a string of foreign and Chinese coaches, the problems are more often attributed to the lack of a strong youth program and a misplaced, money-driven focus on the domestic league.Lippi was hired to replace Gao Hongbo, who quit after a 2-0 loss in Uzbekistan last month left China with one point from four qualifying matches and with little hope of making it to Russia in 2018. China has qualified for one World Cup -- the 2002 edition co-hosted by Japan and South Korea -- where it bounced out in the group stage without scoring a goal.Fed up with such results and seeking to close a glaring gap in its international sporting prowess, China this year announced an ambitious football development plan closely identified with President Xi Jinping, a fan of the game. The plan envisions 50 million players joining in the game by the end of the decade and the transformation of the country into a first-rate major footballing power by 2050.The blueprint is seen as another aspect of Xis grand narrative of national rejuvenation -- dubbed his China Dream -- that is generally a point of pride for the public. Yet the mixed reactions to Lippis appointment reflect a deep cynicism when it comes to supporting a football team that is ranked 84th and which also recently lost to Syria.Though Xis administration has been applauded for proposing to build academies and thousands of football fields, the politically-tinged directive has also spurred the domestic league into spending extravagantly on foreign stars and big-name managers. That has prompted talk of a bubble that will burst before any benefits trickle down to the grassroots.Against that backdrop have been reports in Italian and Chinese media that Lippi would be paid a record salary of 20 million euros a year.The former Juventus and Italy coach told Italian reporters last week the figures were exaggerated, but that hasnt quieted grumbles about yet another football import taking money that could be spent developing Chinese youngsters.Ma Dexing, one of Chinas best-known football commentators, said Xis campaign, with its intended emphasis on developing youth, was already losing its way amid Chinas frenzy of flashy managerial hires and exorbitant player purchases. But Ma said hiring Lippi was justified at whatever cost.His situation is different, Ma said in an interview. The national team is the dragons head -- the symbolic leader. If it doesnt do well, everyone else loses interest in football.Lippi, who guided Italy to World Cup success in 2006, coached Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande from 2012 to 2015, winning domestic titles and the Asian Champions League. Rather than serve merely as another foreign figurehead, Ma said, Lippi has the authority and the experience of working in China to truly overhaul the countrys football organization.In the past they changed the water but not the medicine, Ma said. This is a real revolution.In his first meeting with the Chinese media as national coach, Lippi said his top task would be to evaluate his players psychology and boost their confidence, rather than introduce new tactics. He said it was highly improbable for China to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, but urged the nation to back his players.Mark Dreyer, a Beijing-based British sports commentator on China Central Television, said in some ways China resembled England, a country also locked in a perennial cycle of high short-term expectations and intense pressure on the national team, followed by disappointment and cynicism. Chinese football authorities need more independence to do their work, Dreyer said.They need someone who can come in and say, `Give me 20 years, you cant expect results in two years just because you want them, Dreyer said. But how can they suddenly be free from the government and not answering to Xi Jinping?Others are less positive. Outside Shanghais Hongkou stadium, property manager Xu Chao said he preferred watching local club Shenhua because the national teams level of play was simply unwatchable.Its useless to hire an expensive coach when the teams foundation is not good, Xu said.Yan Shihao, a junior in university, said it wasnt just China making a costly bet by hiring Lippi.Lippi chose China, he said. Its a brave decision to gamble with his honor.---Associated Press researcher Fu Ting contributed to this report from Shanghai. Cheap Denver Broncos Jerseys . Klitschkos management company says the bout will be the Ukrainian fighters 25th world championship fight. The 1.83-meter (6-foot) Leapai defeated the previously unbeaten Denis Boytsov in November to become the WBOs mandatory challenger. Cheap Oakland Raiders Jerseys . 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Klitschkos management company says the bout will be the Ukrainian fighters 25th world championship fight. The 1.83-meter (6-foot) Leapai defeated the previously unbeaten Denis Boytsov in November to become the WBOs mandatory challenger.Scotland assistant manager Mark McGhee says he would be amazed if Gordon Strachan quit as national coach. The Motherwell manager gave an impassioned defence of their performance as a Scotland management team amid debate over Strachans future following last weeks 3-0 defeat by England.Speaking ahead of Saturdays visit of Partick Thistle, the former Millwall and Wolves boss said: In the week leading up to the game I know his appetite was full. It showed in the performance, that he got his message across and the boys responded and played very, very well. He is entitled to go into the next games and see if we can improve on the results and Id be amazed if he doesnt. Action from Englands 3-0 win over Scotland at Wembley McGhee has deliberately avoided media reaction to the Wembley defeat, which left Scotland fifth in their World Cup qualifying section with four points from four matches, and has not spoken at length to Strachan since the match.But he reiterated he felt the teams attitude and approach was spot-on and described their start to the game as excellent, enough to convince him that they can revive results next year, which starts with the visit of Slovenia on March 26.We have our views and everyone is entitled to their opinion, of course they are, thats the business we are in, McGhee said. Scotland began the campaign with a 5-1 victory in Malta But, as far as I am concerned, I am looking forward to the next games, in particular I cannot wait for the game in June. I want to get the other games, of course I do, and I want to do well but I want to be here when we play England at Hampden. Highlights of Englands clash with Scotland at Wembley in their 2018 World Cup qualifier Whatever else anyone says, we will just keep doing it until someone else takes the keys off us and we cant do it.ddddddddddddScotland took seven points from their first four matches in their Euro 2016 campaign from arguably a tougher run of fixtures, against Germany, Georgia, Poland and the Republic of Ireland. But McGhee bristled at the suggestion that there were no signs of progress. Shaun Maloney scores the only goal of game as Scotland beat Republic of Ireland at Celtic Park In some ways our results and overall performance in the last campaign is better than it is in this campaign, he said.However, you have to be honest, you have to look at the players we have available, look at the opposition. Dont judge it as the same thing, things evolve. Circumstances in each game are different.You cant be blind where you dont take account of any other circumstance other than the result. Thats not fair. Last time we had a great result and performance against Ireland. Six months half price Upgrade to Sky Sports to watch Man Utd v Arsenal on Saturday and get the first six months half price We have not had one of those big results and performances yet. But thats what we are working towards. We were close to it at Wembley in some ways and thats what we will take into the next game, that we want that big performance.I feel if we go into that game and it was to be abject then there are clearly questions that need to be asked. But I feel so far that Gordon has done just about as well as we could be expected to do. And McGhees sentiments were echoed by Scotland captain Darren Fletcher who insists the players are keen for the former Celtic and Middlesbrough boss to remain in charge of the national side. Darren Fletcher (R) says players right behind Strachan He said: Friday was one of the most frustrating games I ever played in. We took the game to England at Wembley and were so unlucky.Gordon Strachan takes all the flak and deflects it from the players which is the sign of a great manager. The players want him to remain as manager. Upgrade to Sky Sports now to watch Ireland v New Zealand and Man Utd v Arsenal this Saturday and get the first six months half price! Also See: Scotland latest Scotland fixtures Scotland stats Table Live on Sky cheap falcons jerseys cheap ravens jerseys cheap bills jerseys cheap bears jerseys cheap bengals jerseys cheap cowboys jerseys cheap lions jerseys cheap texans jerseys cheap colts jerseys cheap jaguars jerseys cheap chiefs jerseys cheap rams jerseys cheap dolphins jerseys cheap vikings jerseys cheap saints jerseys cheap giants jerseys cheap jets jerseys cheap eagles jerseys cheap steelers jerseys cheap 49ers jerseys ' ' '

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