You can trace the origins of football back to the year 476 BC and a sport called ‘cuju’ in China – which translates roughly as “kick the ball with foot”. In those days teams of up to 16 players would hoof a bag of leather stuffed with feathers around a rectangular pitch.
Much had changed, of course, by 1952, when modern China took its first steps on the international stage of the game that had now become known throughout the world as simply ‘football’.
On the 4th August that year, the People’s Republic of China played its first football match, against Finland in Helsinki. The visitors lost 4-0.
A Chinese national team had existed since 1924, but the original Chinese Football Association was forced to flee to Taiwan after the revolution of 1948. The new People’s Republic of China formed its own FA and, with Finland one of the first countries to recognise the new state, their maiden game was arranged.
The national team is currently managed by one-time Portsmouth coach Alain Perrin.