China is one of the biggest countries in the world based on landmass and population. They are also an economic and industrial powerhouse that is quite dominant globally. Football, as the case in other countries, enjoys huge followership in China. Football in the Communist country has a long history, so continue reading as we present to you some facts about soccer in China.
1. Origins of Football
Many historians are of the opinion that football can trace its origins to ancient China. It is believed that a form of the game was in existence during the Han dynasty that reigned in China between 202 BC-220 AD. It was reportedly called Cuju or Ts’u-chü.
2. Chinese National Team
The Chinese national team was established in 1924 and is governed by the Chinese Football Association.
3. First Official Match
The first-ever international match played by a Chinese team was in 1913. A select Chinese team lost 1-2 to their host Philippines on the 4th of February, 1913.
4. Biggest Win
China’s biggest officially recorded win occurred on the 29th of January, 2000, when they defeated Guam 19-0.
5. Biggest Loss
China’s biggest defeat occurred on the 10th of September, 2012, when they lost 8-0 to Brazil in a friendly match played at Recife, Brazil.
5. World Cup Appearances
The Chinese national has only qualified once for the men’s senior World Cup the Japan/Korea 2002, where they dropped out at the group stage.
6. International Successes
China is yet to win any international trophy but has finished runners-up on two occasions (1984, 2004) at the Asian Cup.
7. All-time Highest Goal Scorer
Hao Haidong is the all-time highest goal scorer for the Chinese national team. The ex-international Chinese striker scored 41 goals in 107 appearances between 1992-2004. He has been said to be one of the greatest Asian players in history.
8. Highest Number of Caps
Li Weifeng currently holds the record for the highest number of appearances for the Chinese national team. The defender made 112 caps for China between 1998-2011.
9. League Competition
The Professional league in China is commonly referred to as the Chinese Super League. 16 teams participate in the league competition. Guangzhou Evergrande is one of the most successful teams in Asia, and they compete in the Chinese Super League.
10. Female National Team
The Chinese Female national football team is also known as the Steel Roses. At the time of this writing, they are currently ranked as the 14th best women’s football team.
11. Female World Cup Participation
The Steel Roses have participated in the female World Cup 7 times. Their best result was a runners-up medal at the 1999 World Cup host by the United States of America.
The Chinese football leagues has been marred with match-fixing, illegal betting, and violence on and off the pitch. Although the Chinese government is strict on such issues and has promised to fix the corruption in their football leagues. In fact, two former top executives of the Football Association of China were arrested and prosecuted for taking bribes.