Wednesday, December 24, 2014

China (PRC) Greatest All-time 23 member team

China 2002

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Before the WC qualifiers for 1982, the Peoples' Republic of China had limited opportunities to compete internationally.  The national team known as China was actually the Republic of China playing with players from Hong Kong.  In 1982, China entered the World Cup Qualifiers for the first time since 1958 with star players Rong Zhixing and Gu Guangming from Guangdong. They nearly made it to Spain, but New Zealand beat Saudi Arabia 5-0 at Riyadh on the last match of the Final round and made up the goal difference. New Zealand won the playoff match.  Two years later, China once again reached the Final of the Asian Cup.  Jia Xiuquan emerged as one of the best defenders in Asia.  In 1988, they qualified for the Seoul Olympics, a full national team tournament for AFC.  In 1989, China once again nearly qualified for the WC Finals.  They were leading Qatar 1-0 at the last game of the AFC Final Round, a result that would send China to the Italy 1990, but China gave up 2 goals on the 87th minute and surrendered the berth to UAE.  China did not do well in the following World Cup qualifiers, but managed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup Finals.  Since 2002, China, however, seemed to have regressed.
China 1981
GK: Li Fusheng 李富胜
Li Fusheng was the highest cap goalkeeper for China with 116 caps.  He went to the Asian Cup in 1976.  He was a part of the team who narrowly missed out in qualifying for the 1982 FIFA World Cup, losing to New Zealand in a play-off.  For his club career, he was a member of Bayi team(the army team.), where he played between 1975 and 1984.  

GK: Fu Yubin 傅玉斌
Fu Yubin spent his entire career with Liaoning where he won several Chinese league titles and the 1990 Asian Club Championship. The team was the dominant club team in China of his generation. For the national team, he represented China in the 1992 Asian Cup where he aided them to a third-place finish.

GK: Ou Chuliang 区楚良
Ou Chuliang was a player from Guangdong.  As a player, he was goalkeeper for Guangdong Hongyuan, Shanghai Shenhua, Yunnan Hongta and Chongqing Qiche.  For the national team, he was capped 75 times between 1992 and 2002.  He went to he World Cup Finals 2002 as a backup.
RB: Sun Jihai 孙继海
Sun Jihai joined Crystal Palace with teammate Fan Zhiyi in 1999 and became the first Chinese national to play in England.  In 2002, he made a big move to Manchester City where he spent 7 seasons and became a regular starter for his first three seasons.  However, he suffered an injury in his fourth season.  He spent the rest of his career in and out of the lineup.  He represented China at the World Cup Finals in 2002.
Sun Jihai
RB: Zhu Bo 朱波
Zhu Bo was capped 83 times for China.  He was a key player as it took second place in the 1984 Asian Cup.  He played for Bayi in the Chinese league between 1978 and 1983, winning two league titles.  He later played a few more seasons with Shenzhen before retiring in 1997.  He was at one point the captain of the Chinese national team as well as Bayi.

CB:  Fan Zhiyi 范志毅
Fan Zhiyi was the Asian Player of the Year in 2002.   He earned over a 100 caps for China.  He captained China as it reached the World Cup Finals for the first time in 2002.  He played three seasons for Crystal Palace and became a captain there as well. At home, he played mainly for clubs in his native Shanghai, notably with Shanghai Shenhua.  He had a stint playing for Rangers in Hong Kong.
Fan Zhiyi 

CM/CB: Zheng Zhi 郑智
Zheng Zhi is best remembered for playing three seasons with Charlton Atletic in England.  He is also known for captaining Guangzhou Evergrade that won the AFC Champions' League in 2013 and 2015.  For the national team, he earned 94 caps.  He captained the under-23 national team that competed at the 2008 Summer Olympics.  He was named Asian Player of the Year in 2013.

CB: Li Weifeng 李玮峰
Li Weifeng was capped 112 times for China between 1998 and 2011.  He played for various clubs in China.  His longest stint was with Shenzhen. He had a brief stint with Everton in England.  He also played for Suwon Bluewings in the K-League. He earned 112 caps and went to the World Cup Finals in 2002. He served as its captain at one point.

CB:  Jia Xiuquan 贾秀全
Jia Xiuquan was the Chinese captain from 1987 to 1992.  In 1984, he won the MVP award at the Asian Cup, where China finished second.  He joined Yugoslavia's FK Partizan in 1987 becoming one of the first footballers from PRC to play in Europe.  He was the first Chinese player to play in the UEFA Cup. In China, he played club football with Baiyi.  He later played in Malaysia and Japan. He played for Gamba Osaka during J-League's inaugural season in 1993.
Jia Xiuquan
LB: Mai Chao 麦超
Mai Chao played his entire career with Guangzhou FC(which would become Guangzhou Evergrande).  He played 45 times for China between 1986 and 1992 and was at one point China's highest scoring defenders.  He was part of the squad that narrowly missed out of reaching the FIFA World Cup after losing the final group game to Qatar in the dying minutes during qualification.

LB: Sun Xiang 孙祥
Sun Xiang became the first Chinese player to appear in a Champions' League match when he played for PSV Eindhoven against Arsenal in 2007.  He started his career with Shanghai Shenhua.  He also played in Austria.  He was a member of the all-conquering Guangzhou Evergrade from 2010 to 2014. His twin brother Sun Ji was also capped by China.

CM: Xie Yuxin 谢育新
Xie Yuxin was the first Chinese from PRC who played in Western Europe when he joined Holland's FC Zwolle in 1987.  He stayed there for two years.  He is originally from Guangdong, and spent most of his career playing for clubs there.  He was capped 120 times and was the youngest ever national team player for China. He played for China at 1988 Summer Olympics.
CM: Shao Jiayi 邵佳一
Shao Jiayi played for Energie Cottbus, 1860 Munich, and MSV Duisburg as well as for Beijing Guoan.  He had 40 caps.  He went to the World Cup Finals in 2002. Shao was also a key player for the national team in the 2004 AFC Asian Cup where he scored three goals during the tournament which led China to finish as runners-up.

CM: Li Tie 李铁
Li Tie first made his name with Liaoning FC in China.  Later, he secured a move to Everton in 2003, where he spent a very successful first season. He was a starter for most of the season, but injuries had kept him from action for the next few seasons.  He also played for Chengdu Blades after he returned home .  He earned 92 caps between 1995 and 2007. He played in the 2002 World Cup Finals. 
Li Tie
LW: Wu Qunli 吴群立
Wu Qunli was predominantly remembered for his time at Guangzhou FC.  He was the CFA Footballer of the Year in both 1990 and 1993.  He joined Hong Kong First Division League side South China in 1994, where he became a star player. For China, he was capped 39 times. He went to the 1988 Summer Olympics.

LW: Wu Lei 武磊
From 2006 to 2018, Wu Lei played for Shanghai SIPG, where he started as a 14 years old, the youngest ever professional footballer in China. He is the all-time leading scorer in the Chinese league.  He also finished the 2018 top scorer and became the Chinese Player of the Year. In 2019, he joined Espanyol in La Liga.  Since 2010, he is a member of the Chinese national team.

RW: Gu Guangming 古广明
Gu Guangming was a star in the 1980's.  He played for Guangzhou FC alongside Rong Zhixing.  He went to Germany and played for SV Darmstadt 98 from 1987 to 1992, where he was a star player in the Bundesliga 2.  He was one of the first Chinese players from PRC to play in Europe. Gu played for China from 1979 to 1985.  He was a key player for China that narrowly missed the World Cup Finals in 1982.
Gu Guangming 

AM: Ma Mingyu 马明宇
Ma Mingyu played mainly for Sichuan Quanxing from his home province Sichuan.  He joined Italy's Perugia briefly in 2000, becoming the first Chinese to join an Italian club.  He did not play a single game. For the national team, he would play in the 1996 AFC Asian Cup, 2000 AFC Asian Cup and captain China's campaign during the 2002 FIFA World Cup Finals.

AM/FW: Rong Zhixing 容志行 
Rong Zhixing was known as the "Chinese Pele".   He made his national team, debut in 1972 and retired in 1983.   He went to the Asian Cup in 1976.  He was a part of the team who narrowly missed out in qualifying for the 1982 FIFA World Cup, losing to New Zealand in a play-off.  He was born on a ship heading to India from China.  He is from Taishan, Guangdong.  His family lived in India until 1953. 
Rong Zhixing

ST: Ma Lin 马林
Ma Lin played mainly Liaoning FC and won the 1988-1989 Asian Club Championship.  He played in a brief loan with  NKK S.C. in Japan. Between 1984 and 1990, he was capped 45 times.  He played in the 1988 AFC Asian Cup, 1988 Summer Olympics and narrowly miss out of the qualification for the 1990 FIFA World Cup. Between 1984 and 1990, he was capped 45 times.

ST: Liu Haiguang 柳海光
Liu Haiguang spent the majority of his career playing for the Shanghai Team, He also joined Yugoslav club FK Partizan along with his Chinese teammate Jia Xiuquan in 1987.  He returned o Shanghai soon afterward.  On the international stage he represented China at the 1984 and 1988 AFC Asian Cup and in the 1988 Summer Olympics. He scored 36 goals for China national football team making him their 2nd highest goalscorer. 
Liu Haiguang
ST: Yang Chen 杨晨
Yang Chen started his career with Beijing Guoan.  After a short loan spell with SV Waldhof Mannheim, he gained a transfer to Eintracht Frankfurt in 1998.  He became the first Chinese player in Bundesliga, scoring 21 goals with the club.  He helped the club to avoid relegation.  He was the Chinese Footballer of the Year in 2000.   From 1995 to 2004, he earned 35 caps for China.  

ST: Hao Haidong 郝海东
Hao Haidong is widely viewed as China's greatest striker.  He played 107 times for China.  Hao enjoyed a stellar international career by playing at the 2002 FIFA World Cup and is the record top goalscorer with 41 goals for the Chinese national team.  For club football, he was best remembered for his years with Dalian Shide between 1997 and 2005, where he won 5 league titles. He also played for Baiyi(the army team) and Sheffield United.
Hao Haidong

Honorable Mention
Zhao Junzhe 肇俊哲, Zhang Linpeng张琳芃, Li Bing 黎兵, Peng Weiguo 彭伟国, Jiang Jin 江津Wu Chengying 吴承瑛, Gao Lin郜林, Li Jinyu 李金羽, Yang Xu杨旭, Su Maozhen宿茂臻,  Zhang Junxiu张俊秀, Chi Shangbin 迟尚斌, Zhang Enhua张恩华,  Li Ming 李明, Zhao Dayu 赵达裕

Squad Explanation
-- I only selected players from the PRC.  Most of the players played in the 1980's.  
-- Guangdong dominated football in the 1980's. Seven players on this team came from Guangdong
-- Sixteen of the players played domestic football outside of China with mixed result.
-- China qualified for the WC Finals in 2002.  I included eight members of the team: Hao Haidong, Fan Zhiyi, Ou Chuliang, Yang Chen, Sun Jihai, Ma Mingyu, Shao Jiayi and Li Tie.
-- Hao Haidong is widely viewed as China's greatest striker.  
-- Yang Chen played well in Germany, but not as good in China. His inclusion was based upon his brief career in Europe.
-- Sun Jihai and Fan Zhiyi joiuned Crystal Palace at the same time,  Sun Jihai quickly returned to China.  Fan Zhiyi stayed and eventually became the captain of the team.  Sun Jihai, however, returned to England in 2002.  He established him at Manchester City, where he became a fan favorite. 
-- Li Tie had a successful first season with Everton, but quickly faded away due to injuries.
-- Zheng Zhi also did fine while playing in England. he would later lead Guangzhou Evergrande to win the AFC Champions' league.
-- In the late 1980's, Jia Xiuquan joined Yugoslav club FK Partizan along with his Chinese teammate Liu Haiguang.
-- China retuned to international football in the 1970's.  They nearly qualified for the World Cup in Spain. In 1984, they reached the Final of the 1984 AFC Asian Cup. Jia Xiuquan won the MVP award, establishing himself as one of the best defender in Asia at the time.
-- Rong Zhixing and Gu Guangming were probably two of China's biggest stars.  They were key players at the 1982 World Cup Qualifiers, but they were playing in an era when domestic league was not as well-known.  Gu Guangming later had the opportunity to play aboard in Germany.  Goalkeeper Li Fusheng also belonged to that generation.
-- Lee Wai Tong is probably the greatest Chinese player, but he represented the Republic of China in the 1930's.  He starred at the 1938 Olympics.  He was born in Hong Kong.  Liked Hong Kong players of his generation, he represented the Republic of China.
-- I like what Wu Lei doing in the Chinese Super League.  He might make it pme day.  In 2019, he joined Espanyol, where he quickly established himself.  He replaced Zhao Dayu 赵达裕 after Wu finished as the top scorer in the Chinese Super League.  
-- Ma Lin and Liu Haiguang helped China to qualify for the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.  The tournament allowed professional footballers from Asia to participate.
-- Zhang Junxiu(张俊秀) played in the 1950's . I do not know too much about him. He is a keeper.

Starting lineup


  1. Fu-Yubin
    Du-Wei Fan-Zhiyi Jia-Xiuquan
    Sun-Jihai Zheng-Zhi Shao-Jiayi Wu-Lei
    Elkeson Lee-Wai-Tong

    The forwards might seem speculative. But the heroes in between Lee Wai Tong's and Elkeson's era do not seem to be of high international standard. Fu Yubin reads as if he was more important than teammate Ma Lin.

  2. good, u know chinese football so well

  3. Eh, I have some difference points.

    GK: Jiang Jin, Fu Yubin, Ou Chuliang,
    RB: Sun Jihai, Zhu Bo,
    CB: Fan Zhiyi, Jia Xiuqian, Li Weifeng,
    LB: Wu Chenying, Sun Xiang,
    RM: Gu Guangming, Li Xiaopeng,
    CM: Zheng Zhi, Li Tie, Zuo Shusheng, Chi Shangbin, Zhao Junzhe,
    LM: Ma Mingyu, Shao Jiayi,
    CF: Hao Haidong, Li Jinyu, Rong Zhixing, Yang Chen.