China Joins the Party in Toulon

The Toulon Tournament (officially known as the Festival Espoirs de Toulon) is an international u21 competition featuring 12 sides in three groups of four teams. The winners of each group plus the best runner up altogether, will compete in the semi-finals and so on. This edition will run from the 26th of May to the 9th of June.

Recently it has been announced that Asia’s most successful team in this tournament is back and looking to make a big impact like they have done previously. It is of course China. The other teams officially announced so far are Turkey, Togo, France, Portugal, England, Japan, Canada and South Korea.

This will be the 12th time China have entered the competition they have fond memories of. When the words China and Toulon Tournament come together they think of the excellent run to the final in 2007 where they eventually came unstuck against France who had players such as Kevin Gameiro in the squad. It’s something the players in that squad can always be proud of.

Fun Fact:

The young Chinese players will be coached by former Man City player Sun Jihai where he played for them between 2002-2008, while becoming the first Chinese player to ever score in the Premier League. He’ll be looking to steer the next generation to create their own history.

AFC U23 Championship Failure:

As well as just the history, China will also be looking to restore after the horrendous showing in the recent u23 tournament after only coming 3rd in the group stage, losing to Qatar and Uzbekistan. With a group they should have gone through comfortably as well as being host nation means they’ll be looking to make a huge statement in France.

Here are a couple of the players who may be in France, looking to make the statement needed for people to take China seriously.

Zhang Yuning:

He may be unrealistic but I’d love to see him there. Zhang Yuning is currently playing on loan at Werder Bremen from West Bromwich Albion who they signed from Vitesse Arnhem. The tricky 20-year-old player has already played nearly 10 times for the first side. I would like to see him there as I feel he’d be able to make a huge impact for China against the bigger sides.

Feng Boxuan:

The former Hebei Youth player moved to Torreense when he was 18. After two years amassing over 25 appearances for the first team he moved back to China and joined Guangzhou Evergrande. He’ll be hopefully looking to get a place in the Evergrande side before becoming a crucial player in Toulon.

China will be hoping for a much better youth performance come May. How well do you think they’ll do?