China's head coach Marcello Lippi gestures during a training session ahead of his team's upcoming World Cup qualifier football match against South Korea in Changsha, central China's Hunan province on March 21, 2017. (AFP/STR)
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Chinese authorities have stepped up security for Thursday's tense World Cup qualifier against South Korea, whose fans will receive a police escort after protests over Seoul's decision to deploy a controversial missile defense system.China's World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi, hired together with his team on reported pay of $20 million euros a year, knows his 86th-ranked team's chances of qualifying are slim.Only the top two in the six-team group gain automatic entry to next year's World Cup, with the third-placed side going into a play-off series, meaning defeat in Changsha would leave China in need of a miracle.The Korea Football Association said Chinese police would escort South Korean spectators, who had agreed to travel together and only wear their official "supporters' uniform" inside the stadium.South Korea will be without suspended Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-Min, while Lippi has called up Vitesse Arnhem striker Zhang Yuning.
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