Il Mister Gets Duped By The New Kid On The Block

Marcello Lippi is someone who has won pretty much everything that football has to offer. We’re talking domestic titles on two continents, Champions Leagues on two continents, hell he’s even won a World Cup for good measure, yet yesterday, he was outshone and outthought by a relative novice in the managerial world. Let’s not pretend that Wales aren’t better than China because they are, but 6-0 better? Not a chance.

First Time In Lippi’s Career His Side Have Shipped Six

Lippi’s side have all been built on the same foundations, having a strong defence and the rest will take care of itself. If we take a look at his Juventus side in the early noughties, they had the best defensive record in Serie A for two successive years and lo and behold they won the title.

His final season was Juve was not as successful, funnily enough, they leaked more goals. Pattern emerging here isn’t there? You can even go back to his first spell at Juventus in the nineties and it’s the same thing, they’ve always got one of the best defensive records. Ok, so maybe he can only do it in Europe? That would be a fair assumption.

At Guangzhou Evergrande it was more of the same, which puts to bed that theory. In the three consecutive years, they won the title, they never shipped more than thirty goals and in the 2013 campaign, only eighteen goals were conceded. EIGHTEEN in a whole season. Lippi’s side conceded SIX last night.

Factually speaking, it can’t be ignored that China are not on the same level on the international scene that Guangzhou Evergrande and Juventus are in their respective countries, nevertheless, this is the first time in Lippi’s managerial career that one of his sides has leaked six in a game, so we’re now in unknown territory for Lippi and how he will react will be very, very interesting.

China Were Bad, But Wales Were Very, Very Good

Let’s take nothing away from Wales, they were quality from the word go, in particular, the man of the hour, Gareth Bale. It was reported yesterday morning by the Spanish media that Bale had rejected a move to the Chinese Super League, however, it was one of those articles without any quotes, so it must be taken with a pinch of salt. China opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation, Yan Junling was in goal with a centre-half pairing of Feng Xiaoting and He Guan in front of him. We’ll focus on those three as they’re the biggest ‘culprits’.

You’d think that with Vokes starting up front for Wales, Lippi would have some sort of idea which way Giggs’ team were going to play. Evidently not. With less than three minutes on the clock, Plan A had worked. Hennessey lumped the ball forward, Vokes won the ball in the air with ease and flicked it on to Bale who still had a lot to do. He made light work of the aforementioned centre-half partnership and put it beyond Yan Junling to his right.

I’m not sure if I’m being harsh here, but for me, the keeper has to do better. Out of the three keepers in the squad, the Shanghai SIPG player is the least-capped and it’s hard to see him winning any other caps in a hurry as with the first goal he seemed to be slightly flat-footed. Things didn’t get much better from that moment onwards…

Junling Has Had Better Days At The Office

Nineteen minutes past without any danger as such for Lippi’s side. With the clock on the 21st minute, danger had arrived once again. China were the masters of their own downfall as they were trying to play out from the back in triangles; Vokes nicked in, played in Bale and he slotted it beyond the despairing Yan Junling again. 2-0 and we weren’t even halfway through the first-half.

Vokes was at the heart of it again as he won the ball in the air and headed it out to the right. A deep cross was whipped in, Andy King headed back towards the penalty spot and there was Vokes to finish what he started first-time. There wasn’t a great deal of pace on Vokes’ effort, but the precision put it past Junling and with only seven minutes left for the interval, he must’ve been thinking, surely that must be the end of it? Wrong.

On the stroke of halftime, in similar circumstances to Wales’ second, Harry Wilson made it four. The Liverpool loanee won the ball by the centre circle, played it out wide to Bale, got it back, cut inside and then bent it past Junling. Even though China were defending like they’d never played together, some of the finishing on show was simply sublime.

Go Out And Win The Second Half

Finally, after that, Lippi’s team could have a breather and he could have a stern word with them at halftime. Again, unknown territory for him. To the best of my knowledge, he’s never been 4-0 down at halftime, although, all you’d have to say would be “Ok lads, forget that half, let’s just go out and win the second-half” or something of that nature. The bollocking can wait until full time.

Surprisingly, only two of the back four were replaced by Lippi at halftime as he brought on Liu Yiming for He Guan and Li Xuepeng for Wang Shenchao; how Junling was left on the pitch, I have no idea. Unsurprisingly, it was 5-0 not long after the restart, thirteen minutes to be precise. This goal was a bad one to concede for a number of reasons. Where to begin?

Harry Wilson showed his intelligence as he found a gap between China’s defence and midfield to receive the ball, he should have been picked up, but let’s give credit to Wilson in this instance. He then takes a touch. At this point, there are FOUR red shirts within ten yards of him, but no-one is fast enough to close him down. When someone eventually does, it’s the one whose marking Vokes which means Wilson can slot the ball through and Vokes finishes. Shambles is putting it mildly.

Or The Second Half Of The Second Half

Bale got his third and Wales’ sixth as he became Wales’ all-time top goalscorer and the first Welshman to score a hattrick in this decade. It was as simple a goal as they come; Joe Allen played the ball over the top, China’s offside trap went to pot again and Bale did the rest. Embarrassing. Giggs’ made a host of changes after the sixth and that was pretty much that.

Guangzhou Evergrande’s Yu Hanchao nearly gave the Chinese fans something to cheer about as his rasping effort cannoned back off the woodwork after a fabulous Wayne Hennessey save, apart from that, it was a day to forget to China.

Luckily for Lippi, his side will have the opportunity to redeem themselves on Monday when they face the loser of Uruguay vs Czech Republic on Monday, on the other hand, if they suffer another defeat, then surely questions will have to be asked about Il Mister’s future?

About the Author

Jake Flock
Football and writing are my two biggest passions, so seems right to combine the pair, don't you think? Doing a bit of moonlighting over here. My main playground is down the road at: http://www.indiansuperleague.uk where we cover another Super League, namely the Indian one. See you over there.