National soccer team gears up for warm-ups in Chengdu
Published: Sep 04, 2023 11:05 PM
Serbian Jankovic Photo: VCG

Serbian Jankovic Photo: VCG

China's national soccer team were preparing for two warm-up matches at a training camp in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan Province on Monday.

The training camp aimed to help the team prepare for the fixtures against Malaysia on September 9 and Syria on September 12. The two matches are seen as a litmus test for the second round of the World Cup 2026 Asian qualifiers. 

China was drawn with South Korea, Thailand and Singapore/Guam in Group C of the Asian qualifiers that are set to kick off in November. 

Opponents Malaysia and Syria respectively offer stylistic similarities to Thailand and South Korea and it's a great opportunity for Team China to adjust its formation.

Head Coach Aleksandar Jankovic told media on Monday that he felt the fervor of the Chengdu fans and will try to win more support through good performances.

"The goal of this training camp is to win the two warm-up games," said Jankovic. 

"We will strive for victory no matter who we will face," said Jankovic. He said that he hasn't had the time to go see the pandas for which the city of Chengdu is well known and he will focus on training. 

Liu Xiangyu, a journalist with the Soccer News, told the Global Times that Malaysia is not to be underrated.

"Half of the Malaysian squad is now nationalized players and they have improved a lot compared to the squad two years ago. Led by Argentine coach Héctor Cúper, Syria is anticipated to cause trouble for China," said Liu.

In the four friendly matches since Jankovic took the helm in February, China recorded two wins, one draw and one loss.

Nationalized defensive midfielder Li Ke has made a comeback to the national squad after a two-year absence due to  leg injury. 

Li has regained his form with consistent performances in the league this season. Veteran midfielder Wu Xi also rejoined the squad after his recovery from an injury.