‘Shaolin Soccer’ China will take on Tajikistan in their first ever Asian Cup appearance.

China has named its starting lineup ahead of its Asian Football Confederation (AFC) 2023 Qatar Asian Cup Group A match against Tajikistan at the Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium in Doha, Qatar, on Wednesday (July 13).

China will start with goalkeeper Yan Junling, followed by Zhang Guangtai, Zhu Tianze, Zhang Linfeng, Wang Xiangyuan, 스포츠토토 Wu Lei, Dai Weichun, Liu Yang, Liu Binbin, Wang Qiu Ming and Tan Lung.

Tajikistan will start with goalkeeper Yatimov, followed by Juravov, Safarov, Khanonov, Umarbayev, Soirov, Zaryov, Kamolov, Shukurov, Panishanbe and Nazarov.

China is ranked 79th by Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). Their best result at the Asian Cup was a runner-up finish on home soil in 2004. Four years ago, they reached the quarterfinals in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

However, their recent form has not been good. They have lost three straight A matches. Aside from the 0-3 loss to South Korea, they have also lost back-to-back games to Oman (0-2) and Hong Kong (1-2).

Their ace is Wu Lei. He has 32 goals in 91 A-match appearances. Other key players include Wei Hao and Zhang Linfeng.

Tajikistan are the lowest-ranked team in FIFA’s 106th ranking and are expected to compete for third place in Group A alongside Lebanon. They are unbeaten since a 1-5 loss to Uzbekistan in June 2023, making them a favorite.

One player to watch is Sharom Samiyev. He scored in both of the last two Asian qualifiers for the 2026 North American Championship (Jordan and Pakistan). He will start on the bench against China.

This will be Tajikistan’s first appearance at an Asian Cup. However, their recent performances for their age-group national team have been impressive. They are one of the fastest-growing teams in Asia, so it’s worth keeping an eye on them.

China leads the all-time series with three wins and one draw. The last meeting was four years ago with a 1-0 win.

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