The roster for China’s World Cup qualifier against South Korea has been released. Only one player is from Europe, while the rest are from the Chinese Super League.
The Chinese Football Association announced its 24-man roster for the second round of Asian qualifying for the 2026 FIFA World Cup North America on Sunday (July 7). China will begin training on Sept. 9, before hosting Thailand (away) on Sept. 16 at 9:30 p.m. and South Korea on Sept. 21 at 9 p.m. in the first and second rounds of Group C qualifying.레모나토토
Serbian coach Aleksandar Jankovic has called up veterans such as Wu Lei (Shanghai Port) and captain Wu Xi (Shanghai Shenhua). Compared to the roster for last month’s trials against Vietnam and Uzbekistan, veterans Zhang Linfeng (Shanghai Port), Zhang Yuning (Beijing Guoan), Lin Liangming (Dalian Pro) and Liu Binbin (Shandong Taishan) are back in the squad.
The only European in the 24-man squad is 2000-born center back Wu Xiaochong. This season, Wu has been playing for Genclerbiriyi SK in the Turkiye Second Division, making seven league appearances (six starts). His original club is Istanbul Basakşehir FK in the first division. Xie Weijun (Tianjin Jinmen Tiger), Zhang Shengrong (Shanghai Shenhua) and Gao Tianyi (Beijing Guoan) are among the other players with lesser A-League experience.
China is the 79th-ranked team in Group C, second only to South Korea (24th) in the FIFA rankings, followed by Thailand (112th) and Singapore (155th). On paper, South Korea is the clear favorite, with China and Thailand likely battling for the second spot. The top two finishers in the group will advance to the third round of qualifying for the World Cup. China’s only previous appearance at the World Cup was at the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup, when South Korea and Japan did not qualify as hosts.
South Korea and China will meet on Nov. 21 at the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Center in Shenzhen, China. The head-to-head record is 22 wins, 12 draws and two losses, including a recent three-game winning streak. It will be a year and four months since Korea’s 3-0 victory at the East Asian Football Confederation (EAFF) E-1 Championship (East Asian Cup) in Nagoya, Japan, last July, when the squad was comprised mainly of domestic players with no Europeans.
The last time a full European squad was called up was at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), in January 2019, where South Korea won 2-0 with a goal from Hwang Eui-jo (Norwich City) and a brace from Kim Min-jae (Bayern Munich). Son Heung-min (Tottenham), Hwang Hee-chan (Wolverhampton), and Hwang In-beom (Tsubena Zbezda) were also part of the core of the Klinsmann Ho starting lineup that day, and they all remember the experience of winning.