China unveils 27-man roster for World Cup qualifiers against Japan, Vietnam

The Chinese national football team has announced a 27-man squad here on Saturday to prepare for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Japan and Vietnam, with four naturalized players listed in the roster.

“The Chinese national team will departure for Japan on January 23,” read a Chinese Football Association statement, adding that Spainish La Liga side Espanol forward Wu Lei as well as naturalized player Jiang Guangtai, Fei Nanduo, Luo Guofu and A Lan will join the team in Tokyo on the same day.

Naturalized forward Ai Kesen was confirmed infected with the COVID-19 in Brazil and therefore can’t return to the Chinese team. Left back Li Lei, who joined Swiss Super League side Grasshopper Zurich, will miss the following two games due to injury.

In addition, 22-year-old Shenzhen FC midfielder Dai Wei Jun, born in Hong Kong, China, got the permission to represent the Chinese Football Association earlier this month, and has been called up to the national team for the first time.

Li Xiaopeng, who was appointed the Chinese team head coach last December, will make his debut on January 27 in China’s match against Japan in Tokyo, and then meet Vietnam in Hanoi on February 1.

With four games remaining in the final round of the Asian qualifiers, China now ranks fifth in the six-team Group B and has a glimmer of hope to make it into the 2022 World Cup.

Following is the 27-man roster:

Goalkeeper: Wang Dalei, Liu Dianzuo, Yan Junling;

Defender: Zhu Chenjie, Zhang Linpeng, Wang Shenchao, Zheng Zheng, Yu Dabao, Ji Xiang, Deng Hanwen, Liu Yang, Jiang Guangtai;

Midfielder: Hao Junmin, Wu Xi, Xu Xin, Jin Jingdao, Liu Binbin, Chi Zhongguo, Dai Wai Tsun, Zhang Xizhe;

Forward: Zhang Yuning, Tan Long, Wei Shihao, Luo Guofu, Wu Lei, A Lan, Fei Nanduo.