Liga Santander

Away from home, China begins bid for World Cup glory

Despite the improving Chinese Super League and its growing number of famous foreign stars, it is a second appearance at the World Cup by its homegrown players that fans in China truly crave.

And if their national team can beat 2002 semifinalist South Korea in Seoul on Thursday night, the chances of a trip to Russia in 2018 may improve considerably.

The Chinese Super League's highest-profile stars - such as Alex Teixeira, Hulk and Jackson Martinez - will be of no help when China makes the short journey to the South Korean capital for the opening game in the last round of Asian qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.