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Lippi and China face toughest test yet in Iran

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) If Marcello Lippi and China are to have any chance of going to the 2018 World Cup then they are going to have to pass what is currently the toughest test in Asian soccer - a game against Iran in front of 100,000 fans in Tehran.

After six games of 10 already played in Group A in the third round of qualification, Iran is not only four points clear at the top but has yet to concede a single goal in 540 minutes of soccer. The latest clean sheet came in a 1-0 win in Qatar on Thursday.

Iran is nine points clear of China in fifth and with the top two in the group progressing automatically to Russia, needs just two wins from the last four games to be certain of a second successive World Cup appearance.