Until their first and only qualification for the FIFA World Cup™ in 2002, China PR’s bid to feature in the global football showpiece had ended in ongoing disappointment. The world’s most populous nation had come close to qualifying on more than one occasion, but lack of consistency saw them invariably fail at the final hurdle. Their qualifying success nine years ago, under Bora Milutinovic, came as a massive boost. However, the two subsequent campaigns have been underwhelming, with China PR failing to progress to Asia's final qualifying stage for both Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010.
Aiming to revive their qualifying fortunes, China appointed former Spain coach Jose Camacho to take care of their Brazil 2014 campaign. However, despite some positive signs displayed during the preliminary competition, the team were once again found lacking, with three defeats from their first five games condemning them to early elimination.
FIFA World Cup finals history
China PR set realistic goals for their maiden FIFA World Cup appearance, targeting simply one win, or at least scoring a goal. Their hopes, however, were shattered in brutal fashion as the first-timers finished empty-handed, conceding nine unanswered goals to bow out. A 2-0 opening defeat against Costa Rica was followed by a 4-0 hammering delivered by eventual winners Brazil, before a 3-0 loss to Turkey put the seal on a forgettable campaign.
Best performances in a FIFA competition: FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan 2002 (Group stages), FIFA U-17 World Cup China 1985 (Quarter-finals)
Former stars: Rong Zhixing, Hao Haidong, Fan Zhiyi