China unveil squad for World Cup qualifier against Syria

Updated 2017-06-02 10:00:54 Global Times

China on Thursday -announced their 25-man squad for a -friendly and a World Cup -qualifier in June, with Guangzhou Evergrande winger Yu Hanchao expected to make his debut for the national team.

The Chinese national team will host the Philippines on June 7 (Wednesday) in South China's Guangzhou before heading to Malacca of Malaysia to play against Syria for the 2018 World Cup qualifier at a neutral place.

Yu, though not among the Chinese Super League (CSL) champions' starters, is widely seen as a "super substitute" due to his pace in the CSL matches played in May.

Italian Marcello Lippi has led the team to its first win in the qualifying series in March - a 1-0 win over bitter rivals South Korea - after taking over the team in October.

His latest squad includes seven Evergrande players, who lead the domestic top flight with 28 points.

Evergrande's city rivals Guangzhou R&F, who are sitting fifth in the league, contribute three players to the squad, including forward Xiao Zhi and midfielder Chen Zhizhao, who were previously in the national team's reserve squad.

Four Hebei China Fortune players also made the cut, three of them defenders, as Manuel Pellegrini's team are currently third in the top flight.

China will play without Shanghai SIPG midfielder Cai Huikang, who suffered a right-ankle injury during Wednesday's Asian Champions League round of 16 second-leg game against Jiangsu Suning. Cai is considered a key player in -China's defensive tactics.

China, who have only five points after seven rounds, have to win all the remaining qualifying matches - against Syria, Uzbekistan and Qatar - in -order to keep their 2018 World Cup hopes alive.

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