Published: 14:31, May 22, 2024 | Updated: 16:52, May 22, 2024
China unveils 29-man roster for World Cup qualifiers
By Xinhua
Liu Yang (second left) of China breaks through during the group C match of 2026 FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers between China and Singapore in North China's Tianjin municipality on March 26, 2024. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

EIJING - China men's national team announced a 29-player roster on Wednesday for the upcoming 2026 FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers, with naturalized forward A Lan returning to the national team after a two-year absence.

Head coach Branko Ivankovic has notably called up four naturalized players: Ai Kesen, Jiang Guangtai, Fei Nanduo, and A Lan. The 34-year-old A Lan returned to the Chinese Super League (CSL) earlier this year and has scored four goals for newly-promoted Qingdao West Coast.

The Chinese Football Association (CFA) also revealed that three Beijing Guoan players, Zhang Yuning, Li Lei, and Lin Liangming, would miss the training camp due to injuries. "This is a challenge for the team, but we firmly believe that we will prevail as long as we all unite together with our fans," read a CFA statement.

The Chinese team is slated to play against Thailand in Shenyang, Liaoning province, on June 6, and the home side needs a win to enter the final stage of the Asian qualifiers

The Chinese side will hold training camps from May 27 to June 12 in Shenyang, Liaoning province, and Seoul, South Korea, to prepare for their FIFA World Cup qualifying games against Thailand and South Korea. 

The roster features six newcomers: Huang Zhengyu, Yang Zexiang, Bao Yaxiong, Behram Abduweli, Xu Haoyang, and Han Pengfei, while 35-year-old captain Zhang Linpeng is not included in the list.

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The Chinese team is slated to play against Thailand in Shenyang on June 6, and the home side needs a win to enter the final stage of the Asian qualifiers. In the last round of the qualifiers, China will meet South Korea away on June 11.

In addition, star forward Wu Lei and midfielder Li Yuanyi will be suspended for the match against Thailand due to yellow card accumulation.

The 29-man roster is as follows:

Goalkeepers: Bao Yaxiong, Liu Dianzuo, Zhao Bo, Wang Dalei, Yan Junling;

Defenders: Gao Zhunyi, Han Pengfei, Li Shuai, Liu Yang, Jiang Guangtai, Jiang Shenglong, Wang Zhenao, Yang Zexiang, Zhu Chenjie;

Midfielders: Cheng Jin, Fang Hao, Gao Tianyi, Huang Zhengyu, Li Yuanyi, Wang Shangyuan, Wei Shihao, Xie Pengfei, Xie Weneng, Xu Haoyang;

READ MORE: Ivankovic optimistic about plan of attack

Forwards: A Lan, Ai Kesen, Behram Abduweli, Fei Nanduo, Wu Lei, Xie Weijun.