Ninety minutes from glory: China’s 1982 World Cup qualifying campaign

China entered the qualifying rounds for Spain’82 as something of an unknown quantity having not participated in the competition since 1958. They ended it having fallen just one win short of qualification. After withdrawing from both FIFA and the IOC in the late 1950s over the ‘Taiwan question’, China were deprived of officially sanctioned competitive […]

From the Qing dynasty, to collapsing roofs and the CSL: a history of Guangzhou R&F’s temporary home

Military parade ground, site of the first Provincial Games in China, political rallying point, Japanese military depot, home of the Guangdong-Hong Kong Cup, host of the Women’s World Cup, and finally a CSL venue. The Guangdong Provincial People’s Stadium has certainly witnessed a lot since it hosted the first Provincial Games in the dying days […]

“China flexes her football muscles” – in 1979 – against Celtic, Chelsea, WBA and Middlesbrough

“China flexes her football muscles” and “Chinese aim for place in the World Cup”: two headlines that could’ve been written in 2017 but were in fact in a Celtic match programme from 8th August 1979. That summer a squad of 17 Chinese players travelled to Europe for a long forgotten two month tour of France, […]

The first western club to tour China: New York Cosmos’ 1977 adventure

Pele’s farewell tour with the New York Cosmos in 1977 was the first time that a professional Western club had visited China. The Brazilian legend, alongside fellow World Cup winners Carlos Alberto and Franz Beckenbauer, were part of the Cosmos side that played friendlies against the Chinese national side in Beijing and Shanghai. WEF looks back at what happened on this ground breaking tour.