Beijing: With China's national men's soccer team unable to qualify for next year's World Cup, Li Tie has been removed as head coach. Li resigned from the Chinese Football Association on Friday, and was replaced by Li Xiaopeng, a former national team player.
With five points from six games, China sits in fifth place in a six-team World Cup qualifying group. Only the top two teams qualify for next year's tournament in Qatar, and there are still four games to be played. China has only qualified for one World Cup in its history, and Li had been under pressure to step down following a dismal qualification campaign, despite a 1-1 draw against Australia last month.
Li Tie and Li Xiaopeng both played in the 2002 World Cup, and Li replaced Marcello Lippi, one of several foreign coaches employed by China recently, including Bora Milutinovic, who guided China to the 2002 World Cup. Despite President and Chairman of the Communist Party of China Xi Jinping's wishes for China to become a football giant, the men's squad currently ranks 74th in the world.