Lippi, who steered Italy to World Cup glory in 2006, recently told Italian media that he will likely retire after the Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
But failure to beat India could herald a swifter end to his tenure.
With a reported annual salary of between $23 million and $27 million — one of the highest in football — Chinese media and fans feel short-changed.
Bai Guohua, a reporter for Soccer News, called it “a must-win” match.
“Lippi has no time to pay attention to Chinese football’s ‘long-term planning’,” wrote Bai.
“He only needs to assemble a team with combative abilities within the next two months and strive to get good results at the Asian Cup.
“Then he can retire as mission accomplished.”