|Sub-confederation EAFF (East Asia)|
Top scorer Hao Haidong (41)
Manager Marcello Lippi
Head coach Marcello Lippi
|Most caps Li Weifeng (112)|
FIFA code CHN
Arena/Stadium Workers' Stadium
Captain Zheng Zhi
|Nickname(s) 龙之队 Lóngzhī Duì
(Team Dragon) 国足Guó Zú|
Current 86 5 (9 February 2017)
Association Chinese Football Association
Confederation Asian Football Confederation
2013 international friendlies china national football team 6 1 singapore national football team
The Chinese national football team (Chinese: 中国国家足球队; pinyin: Zhōngguó Guójiā Zúqiú Duì), recognized as China PR by FIFA, is the national association football team of the People's Republic of China and is governed by the Chinese Football Association. The team is colloquially referred to as "Team China" (Chinese: 中国队), the "National Team" (Chinese: 国家队) or "Guózú" (Chinese: 国足, short for Chinese: 国家足球队; pinyin: Guójiā Zúqiú Duì; literally: "national football team").
- 2013 international friendlies china national football team 6 1 singapore national football team
- Republic of China national football team 19131949
- Gao Hongbo era
- Appointment of Jos Antonio Camacho
- Alain Perrin era
- Gao Hongbo returns
- Marcelo Lippi era
- Media coverage
- Current squad
- Recent call ups
- All time results
- Olympic Games record
- Asian Games record
The team was founded in 1924 by the Republic of China and joined FIFA in 1931. Following the Chinese Civil War, the Chinese Football Association was reformed by the newly founded People's Republic of China. They remained affiliated with FIFA until 1958, when they withdrew, but they rejoined the organisation in 1979.
China has won the EAFF East Asian Cup twice in 2005 and 2010 and have been runners-up at the AFC Asian Cup twice in 1984 and 2004. Although China failed to score a goal in their FIFA World Cup debut appearance during the 2002 FIFA World Cup, losing all their matches, qualifying for the tournament has been considered the greatest accomplishment in the country's football history.
Although modern football lacks a distinguished history in China, there were an estimated 250 million viewers for the 2004 AFC Asian Cup Final, which China lost 3–1 to arch-rivals Japan, the largest single-event sports audience in the country's history at that time.
Republic of China national football team (1913–1949)
China's first ever international representative match was arranged by Elwood Brown, president of the Philippine Athletic Association who proposed the creation of the Far Eastern Championship Games, a multi-sport event considered to be a precursor to the Asian Games. He invited China to participate in the inaugural 1913 Far Eastern Championship Games held in the Philippines, which included association football within the schedule. To represent them it was decided that the winner of the football at the Chinese National Games in 1910 should have the honour to represent the country, where it was won by South China Football Club. The clubs's founder and coach Mok Hing (Chinese 莫慶) would become China's first coach and on 4 February 1913 in a single one-off tournament game held in the Manila he led China to a 2–1 defeat against the Philippines national football team, which saw Tong Fuk Cheung also become China's first goalscorer.
The political unrest of the Xinhai Revolution that mired China's participation in the first tournament, especially in renaming the team as Republic of China national football team, did not stop Shanghai being awarded the 1915 Far Eastern Championship Games. Once again South China Football Club, now known as South China Athletic Association won the right to represent the nation. This time in a two legged play-off against the Philippines, China won the first game 1–0 and then drew the second 0–0 to win their first ever tournament. With the games being the first and only regional football tournament for national teams outside Britain, China looked to establish themselves as a regional powerhouse by winning a total of nine championships.
The Chinese Football Association was founded in 1924 and then was first affiliated with FIFA in 1931. With these foundations in place China looked to establish themselves within the international arena and along with the Japanese national football team they were the first Asians to participate in the Football at the Summer Olympics when they competed within the Football at the 1936 Summer Olympics held in Germany. At the tournament China were knocked out within their first game at the Round of sixteen when they were beaten by Great Britain Olympic football team 2–0 on 6 August 1936.
On 7 July 1937 the Second Sino-Japanese War officially erupted, which saw the relations between China and Japan completely eroded especially once it was announced that Japan would hold the 1938 Far Eastern Championship Games. The tournament would be officially cancelled while Japan held their own tournament called the Anniversary of the Japanese Empire, which included the Japanese occupied Manchukuo to represent China. None of games during the Second Sino-Japanese War are officially recgonized and once the war ended on 9 September 1945 China looked to the Olympics once again for international recognition. On 2 August 1948 China competed in the Football at the 1948 Summer Olympics where they were once again knocked out in the last sixteen, this time by Turkey national football team in a 4–0 defeat. When the players returned they found the country in the midst of the Chinese Civil War, when it ended the team had been split into two one called the Chinese national football team and the other called Republic of China national football team (later renamed Chinese Taipei national football team).
China, under the newly instated People's Republic of China reformed the Chinese Football Association before having FIFA acknowledge their 1931 membership on 14 June 1952. Finland who were one of the first nations to hold diplomatic relations with China's new government invited the country to take part in the 1952 Summer Olympics. Li Fenglou would become the country's first permanent manager to lead them in the tournament, however unfortunately the Chinese delegation was delayed and they missed the entire competition, nevertheless the Finland national football team would still greet Li and the Chinese team with a friendly game on 4 August 1952 making it People's Republic of China's official first game, which ended in a 4–0 defeat. China would soon enter their first Fifa competition when they entered the 1958 FIFA World Cup qualification process and were knocked out by Indonesia.
On 7 June 1958 China stopped participating within any FIFA recognised football events when FIFA officially started to recognise Republic of China (Chinese Taipei) as a different country. This sparked a diplomatic argument that had already seen China withdraw from the 1956 Summer Olympics for the same reasons. For years China would only play in friendlies with nations such as Albania, Burma, Cambodia, Guinea, Hungary, Mongolia, North Korea, North Vietnam, Pakistan, Sudan, the Soviet Union, and the United Arab Republic who recognized People's Republic of China as the sole heir to the China name. On 25 October 1971 the United Nations would recognise the country as the soul heir to the China name in their General Assembly Resolution 2758 act. In 1973 the team, which had been using the name Republic of China would rename themselves as Chinese Taipei. These acts would see China rejoin the international sporting community, first by becoming a member of the Asian Football Confederation in 1974 and by rejoining FIFA again in 1979.
With the end of the Cultural Revolution and international recognition of their sovereignty finally acknowledged, Chinese sport would emerge from a traumatic period that greatly effected them socially and politically. The 1974 Asian Games reintroduced the Chinese football team back into international football while the 1976 AFC Asian Cup saw them have a relatively successful campaign where they came third. The Chinese national league restarted after being greatly affected by the political turmoil. Also the introduction of televisions in Chinese households reached 20 million sets by 1982 and with an audience of 350 million it saw association football regain its popularity, rival and eventually take over badminton and table tennis as the country's main spectator sport.
In 1980, China participated in the 1982 FIFA World Cup qualification for a berth in the 1982 FIFA World Cup, but they lost a play-off game against New Zealand. During the 1986 FIFA World Cup qualification for the 1986 FIFA World Cup, China faced Hong Kong at home in the final match of the first qualifying round on 19 May 1985 where China only needed a draw to advance. However, Hong Kong produced a 2–1 upset win which resulted in riots between local fans. During the 1990 FIFA World Cup qualification for the 1990 FIFA World Cup, China again reached the final round of qualifying but lost to Qatar in their final group match. During the 1994 FIFA World Cup for the 1994 FIFA World Cup, they failed to reach the final round of qualifying, coming second behind Iraq. China was on the verge of making it through the 1998 FIFA World Cup qualification for the 1998 FIFA World Cup but lost crucial matches at home against Qatar and Iran. In 1987 the first Chinese footballers moved abroad, they were national team players Xie Yuxin who joined FC Zwolle (Netherlands), Gu Guangming who joined SV Darmstadt 98 (Germany), and Jia Xiuquan and Liu Haiguang both joined FK Partizan (Yugoslavia).
On 26 January 2000, China beat Guam 19–0 during the 2000 Asian Cup qualification which was the world record for the largest victory margin in an international football match at the time; however, the record was broken by Kuwait nineteen days later.
On 7 October 2001, China, under the direction of manager Bora Milutinović, advanced to the 2002 FIFA World Cup which was the first time China had ever qualified for the FIFA World Cup. However, they failed to score a single goal at the tournament, lost all three group matches, and were subsequently eliminated in the group stage.
In November 2004, China failed to advance through the preliminary qualification stage for the 2006 World Cup, losing out to Kuwait on goal difference, despite China's seven goals against Hong Kong in the last qualifying match. Manager Arie Haan was later replaced by Zhu Guanghu after the qualification process.
In August 2005, China won the 2005 East Asian Football Championship, its first ever international title, with a 1–1 draw against South Korea, 2–2 draw against Japan, and a 2–0 win against North Korea.
During the qualification process for the 2007 AFC Asian Cup in 2006, the team became the subject of immense criticism and national embarrassment in the media when they had managed to score only one goal, Shao Jiayi's penalty kick during injury time, against Singapore at home and only managed a draw with Singapore in the away game. During preparations for the 2007 AFC Asian Cup, the team spent the weeks leading up to the tournament on a tour of the United States. While the 4–1 loss to the United States was not unexpected, a 1–0 loss to Major League Soccer side Real Salt Lake which finished bottom of the league in the 2007 season caused serious concern.
During the 2007 AFC Asian Cup, the team played three group matches, winning against Malaysia, drawing with Iran after leading 2–1, and losing 3–0 to Uzbekistan. After high expectations, China's performance at the tournament drew immense criticism on online communities which condemned the manager, the players, and even the Chinese Football Association. Zhu was later replaced as manager by Vladimir Petrović after the poor performances. Some commented that China's reliance on foreign managers for the past decade had been an indicator of its poor domestic manager development.
In June 2008, China failed to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, losing against Qatar and Iraq at home. After the 2008 Summer Olympics, Petrović was sacked as the manager and Yin Tiesheng was announced as the team's caretaker.
Gao Hongbo era
In April 2009, China appointed the young Gao Hongbo as the new manager, replacing Yin Tiesheng. His arrival saw China opt for a new strategy, turning towards ground passing tactics and adopting the 4–2–3–1 formation. It was noted that Chinese footballers had relied too heavily on the long ball tactic for almost a decade. Wei Di, the chief of the Chinese Football Association, stressed that, "Anytime, no matter win or loss, they must show their team spirit and courage. I hope, after one year's effort, the national team can give the public a new image."
Under Gao, China drew its first game against Germany 1–1 in May 2009. Afterwards, China were able to gain 13 points in the during the qualification process for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup. This led to a revival in interest amongst some Chinese football fans as China had also won 1–0 against France in June 2010 as well as holding 2010 FIFA World Cup quarter-finalists Paraguay to a 1–1 draw in September 2010. This led to some supporters even thinking that reaching the semifinals of the 2011 AFC Asian Cup was possible; however, China were knocked out in the group stages during the 2011 AFC Asian Cup. This led to some discontent amongst Chinese fans and it seemed that this was the reason that eventually led to the sacking of Gao as manager by the Chinese Football Association. Although Gao's winning percentage (65%) was the highest for a Chinese manager since Nian Weisi (67.86%) as well as the team having not lost since the end of the 2011 AFC Asian Cup, this was still not enough to convince the Chinese Football Association of replacing Gao. In August 2011, he was formally sacked as manager and replaced by José Antonio Camacho, less than a month before the qualification process for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
But corruption still remained a major problem in Chinese football and in 2010, Wei admitted that, "Chinese football has degraded to an intolerable level. It has hurt the feelings of fans and Chinese people at large." He also added that he was confident in being able to aid Chinese men's and women's football return to the leading status in Asia and world respectively in the future. Wei pointed out six major problems which had caused the "huge slump" of Chinese football in the past few years while he dissected the dwindling pool of youth player selection as being a big problem along with unhealthy professional leagues affected by gambling and match-fixing scandals.
Appointment of José Antonio Camacho
On 13 August 2011, José Antonio Camacho was appointed as the new manager of the team, signing a three-year deal for a reported annual salary of $8 million. Wei Di, the chief of the Chinese Football Association, explained the decision as being part of a long-term plan to help the country catch up with rivals Japan and South Korea. He noted that, "Compared with our neighbours Japan and South Korea, Chinese football is lagging far behind, we need to work with a long-term view and start to catch up with a pragmatic approach. A lot of our fans expect China to qualify for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil. They are afraid that changing the coach at the last moment may cause bad effect to the team's qualifying prospect. I can totally understand that. But we do not have any time to waste."
Yu Hongchen, the vice-president of the Chinese Football Administrative Centre, also stated, "The qualifying stage of 2014 World Cup is just a temporary task for him. Even if the task is failed, Camacho will not lose the job. When we started to find a new coach for the national team, we mainly focus on European countries such as Germany, the Netherlands and Spain. First of all, they have advanced football concepts, and secondly they have a productive youth training system, which we can learn from. We hope he can help us to find a suitable style."
However, China failed to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, after only finishing third place in the third round of qualifying during the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification, with three wins and three losses out of six games played.
In June 2012, during a friendly match against Spain, many football experts and pundits alike expected Spain to easily steamroll China. However, many critics were stunned to find China and Spain still deadlocked 0–0 until the 84th minute when a goal from David Silva won the match 1–0 for Spain. Even though they lost, this performance was viewed highly in the media. However, disappointment would soon strike again two months later when China faced Sweden in a friendly only to lose 1–0 with the lone goal coming minutes after the second half. Several months later, Camacho managed a youthful team to an 8–0 loss against Brazil on 10 September 2012 which would go on record as China's worst ever international defeat in the team's history. This massive loss also succumbed China to their worst ever FIFA ranking (109th). It was the worst defeat for China since their loss to the United States in 1992.
After a disappointing qualification process for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Camacho led China during their qualification process for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup where in the first group match China lost 2–1 to Saudi Arabia. Camacho then managed China on 15 June 2013 against Thailand in a shocking 5–1 loss to a team ranked 142 and 47 places below China. This embarrassing loss then saw Camacho subsequently sacked a week as manager after immense pressure from the media with Fu Bo assigned as the caretaker.
Alain Perrin era
After Alain Perrin was announced as the new manager in March 2014, China continued through the qualification process for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, qualifying for the tournament by being the best third-placed team. After undergoing a ten match unbeaten streak before the tournament, China won their first group match of the tournament 1–0 against Saudi Arabia through a deflected free kick from Yu Hai. They won their second group match 2–1 against Uzbekistan and subsequently qualified for the knockout stage as the group winner. This was the first time in eleven years that China were not eliminated during the group stage. China won 2–1 against North Korea in their final group match; however, the team was knocked out by in a 2–0 loss against Australia during the quarterfinals.
Gao Hongbo returns
After Perrin was sacked for the team's poor performance at the 2018 World Cup qualifications, former coach Gao Hongbo volunteers himself to be the next head coach, stating that it was his mission as a football coach to help the national team when it needs help. He was appointed the team's coach on 3 February 2016.
In his first two matches, and also China's last matches to qualify for the last round of 2018 FIFA World Cup, Gao Hongbo and the Team Dragon created one of the most miraculous stories in their qualification history. China continued their journey by beating Maldives 4–0 at home; therefore they took the second position back from Hong Kong due to Qatar's 2–0 win over Hong Kong. In the last match, China must win Qatar while waiting North Korea, Jordan, Syria, Oman, the UAE and Iraq (Kuwait is being banned) to fail to defend their positions. China beat Qatar 2–0, and due to Socceroos's 5–1 thrash over Jordan and North Korea's shocking 2–3 loss to the Philippines, China managed to qualify to the last round of the 2018 World Cup qualification in Asian zone, as the last of top four teams. They also earned a ticket to qualify direct to the 2019 AFC Asian Cup held in the UAE. Later, Oman also failed to defend their positions after losing 0–2 to Iran.
After losing Uzbekistan 0-2, Gao Hongbo resigned.
Marcelo Lippi era
On 22 October 2016, Marcelo Lippi was appointed manager of the Team Dragon.
Kunming Tuodong Sports Center is a multi-purpose stadium in Kunming. The stadium has a capacity of approximately 40,000. It has been used several times for international friendlies since 2010 and was chosen as the home ground for the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification.
China's home kit is traditionally all red with a white trim while their away kit is traditionally an inverted version of the home kit, fully white with a red trim. During the 1996 AFC Asian Cup, China employed a third kit which was all blue with a white trim and was used against Saudi Arabia during the tournament. The team has also started to use cooling vests in certain warmer climates. After decades of having Adidas producing the team's kits, China's current kit has been produced and manufactured by Nike since 2015.
Traditionally, China's greatest rival has been Japan. This was exemplified after Japan beat China 3–1 in the 2004 AFC Asian Cup Final when Chinese fans began to riot near the north gate of the Worker's Stadium. The rioting was said to be provoked by controversial officiating during the tournament and the heightened anti-Japanese sentiment at the time. China's most recent tournament meeting with Japan was at the 2015 East Asian Cup where the two sides drew 1–1. China went on to finish as runners-up in the tournament, while Japan finished 4th.
Another well known rivalry is also with fellow neighbour South Korea. China played 27 matches against South Korea between 1978 and 2010, a span of 32 years, without winning a single match (11 draws and 16 losses). The media coined the term "Koreaphobia" to describe this phenomenon, but China finally registered its first win against South Korea on 10 February 2010, winning 3–0 during the 2010 East Asian Football Championship and eventually going on to win the tournament.
A rivalry with Hong Kong has been created due to political tension. With Hong Kong fans booing the Chinese national anthem, which Team Hong Kong share with Team China, 2018 World cup qualifier matches were also very tense with both matches resulting in 0–0 draws.
Home and away matches are typically shown on CCTV-5, CCTV-5+, GDTV-Sports, STV-Sports, BTV-6, and several other local sports channels in mainland China.
The following players have been called up within the last twelve months.
All-time resultsAs of 14 January 2017; counted for the FIFA A-level matches only.
Olympic Games record
* Including 1988 onwards
For 1992 to 2012, see China national under-23 football team
Asian Games record
* Including 1998 onwards (until 2010)
For 2002 to 2014, see China national under-23 football team