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|NANNING， China， Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- Chinese national team coach Marcello Lippi on Friday hailed FIFA's decision to expand 2026 World Cup to 48 teams as it will provide chances for more teams to compete on the world stage.
"I'm optimistic about the change. It's always good to have more teams to take part in the World Cup，" said the former Italian team boss， "although the World Cup finals will have more teams， the numbers of qualifiers will still be the same. I hope there will be more teams to compete at the World Cup."
China will play against Croatia for the third place on Saturday following a 2-0 defeat to Iceland in the opening game of the 2017 Gree China Cup International Football Championship. Lippi is unsatisfied with the physical condition of the Chinese players.
"The players need to strengthen their physical condition. We played well in the first half at the last game. Our opponents couldn't create chance，" said the 68-year-old Italian， "but after one hour their physical condition went bad and conceded two goals."
As the inaugural China Cup is not on the FIFA international calendar， all the four teams of Chile， Croatia， Iceland and the hosts could not call back their first-choice lineup， and Lippi also contributed it for his side's failure to score in the first match.
"We have two rosters for the last two games. It's totally different，" said Lippi， "For the last World Cup qualifier against Qatar， we created many chances and hit the woodwork on three occasions."
"As the head coach I hope to call back all the excellent players certainly. So I feel a little pity that I can not bring our major lineup to the China Cup. Now I can only try to find some new faces to prepare for the future."
China will play South Korea in a must-win game on March 23 on homesoil in Changsha.
Lippi took over the coaching position from his predecessor Gao Hongbo after China collected merely one point from the first four games. However， his arrival could not bring a much-needed three points as China were held to a goalless draw with Qatar last November， though the hosts dominated the game in Kunming.
Now China stay at the bottom of Group A with two points， nine adrift of leaders Iran. If they cannot beat the Koreans in the next qualifier， they will probably get early exit from the group en route to the 2018 World Cup Russia.
Croatia coach Ante Cacic and Chile's Antonio Pizzi also gave their support for FIFA's decision on expanding the 2026 World Cup， saying they welcome more teams to compete at the world football showpiece event. On the qualities of the games， both Cacic and Pizzi took the "wait and see" stance.
WASHINGTON ó Donald Trump's top aides on Sunday said the president-elect isn't ready to accept the finding by intelligence officials that Moscow hacked Democratic emails in a bid to elevate Trump. Even if it's true , they said, Trump still won the White House fair and square.
The pushback came a day before members of the Electoral College are scheduled to formally cast votes for Trump as the 45th president. While Democrats likely are powerless to stop it, they suggested Trump's victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton would forever be tainted by Russian meddling.
"This whole thing is a spin job ," said Trump's incoming chief of staff, Reince Priebus. "And I think what the Democrats ought to do is look in the mirror and face the reality that they lost the election."
Trump himself weighed in Sunday evening, tweeting , "If my many supporters acted and threatened people like those who lost the election are doing, they would be scorned & called terrible names!"
The partisan swipes mostly ignored warnings by foreign policy experts that part of Russia's calculation also was likely payback for years of U.S. criticism of its own elections and a desire to portray America as a flawed champion of democracy ó potentially weakening U.S. power on the world stage. Russia has vehemently denied the accusation.
Many lawmakers, including some leading Republicans , say voters may not have been swayed by the release of tens of thousands of private emails. But the fact that a foreign power tried to intervene in U.S. democracy and exploit divisions in American politics is cause for alarm, they say.
Still, Trump's transition team and loyalists on Capitol Hill weren't buying it , at least not on the eve of the Electoral College vote.
"Where's the evidence?" asked Kellyanne Conway, another close Trump adviser.
Asked about President Barack Obama's vow to retaliate against the Russians, Conway said: "It seems like the president is under pressure from Team Hillary , who can't accept the election results."
Democrats say it's unlikely the public will ever hear detailed evidence because doing so would disclose classified sources and methods. But with last week's declaration by CIA Director John Brennan that there was "strong consensus" that Russia hacked Democrats to try to sway the election, lawmakers are stepping up demands for closed-door briefings and a separate congressional investigation.
California Rep. Adam Schiff, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee , said an unclassified intelligence review could be released within the next two weeks or three weeks.
As president-elect, Trump would have access to high-level intelligence on the matter, although it's unclear what he's been told. Trump has previously called the intelligence finding of Russian involvement "ridiculous." On Sunday , Conway said she wasn't privy to the same intelligence briefings as the president-elect and couldn't say what he knows.
Donna Brazile, interim head of the Democratic National Committee, said the DNC was no match for a sophisticated foreign power in cyberspace that "weaponized" private emails to "sow misinformation and to sow discord" between Clint
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