A total of nine players from the Chinese Super League will be competing at the Russia World Cup although China have not qualified for the world’s biggest football tournament, according to the list of players for the 32 Russia-bound teams announced by FIFA on Monday.
Belgium, who were drawn in Group G with England, Panama and Tunisia, have two midfielders from the Chinese Super League.
They are Axel Witsel from Tianjin Quanjian and former Monaco and Atletico Madrid player Yannick Carrasco.
Witsel, who had spells in Benfica and Zenit, joined Tianjin Quanjian in 2017 and Carrasco has scored three goals in nine appearances since joining northeast China’s Dalian Yifang last February.
The Chinese league also produced two players for Super Eagles Nigeria. The 29-year-old striker Odion Ighalo, who moved from English Premier League side Watford to Changchun Yatai last year, joins Tianjin Teda midfielder John Obi Mikel, who played for Chelsea from 2006-1017, in the national team in Russia.
Hebei China Fortune’s Javier Mascherano, who used to play for West Ham United, Liverpool and Barcelona, has made the Argentine team, who were beaten by Germany in the World Cup final in Rio four years ago.
Beijing Guoan midfielder Renato Augusto, who had spells in Bayer Leverkusen and Corinthians, is the only Chinese Super League player to be selected into Brazil as former Chelsea striker Oscar and his Shanghai SIPG teammate Hulk were both left out of the star-studded five-time World Cup winners.
European champions Portugal also have one representative from the Chinese league in Jose Fonte, who joined Dalian Yifang on February 23, 2018 for a reported fee of five million pounds (seven million U.S. dollars) after playing in the English Premier League for ten years in Crystal Palace, Southampton and West Ham United.
Guangzhou R&F’s new signing Dusko Tosic has made the Serbia squad. The former Besiktas defender has played for his country for 23 matches and scored one goal.
Kim Younggwon, who won two Asian Champions League titles with Guangzhou Evergrande, will play his first World Cup with South Korea after leading his country to the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games.