Fabio Cannavaro. (Photo: VCG)
BEIJING, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Newly-appointed head coach of China's national football team Fabio Cannavaro will take charge of his new side for the first time Thursday evening, when China take on Thailand in the opening match of the China Cup in Nanning.
The Italian, who was officially appointed China coach last week, is combining his new job with his existing role as head coach of Chinese Super League powerhouses Guangzhou Evergrande, and has called up no fewer than eight Evergrande players to his first China squad, including the experienced defenders Zhang Linpeng and Feng Xiaoting.
One player not set to feature in Nanning, however, is star forward Wu Lei, as the new Espanyol signing is rested, perhaps with a view towards trying other players in his position.
Also featuring in the four-team China Cup are Uzbekistan and 2018 World Cup quarterfinalists Uruguay, whose tournament squad includes defenders Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez of Atletico Madrid, Juventus playmaker Rodrigo Bentancur, and Arsenal's ball-winning midfielder Lucas Torreira.
First held in 2017, the China Cup is an annual football tournament featuring China and three other international sides held in Nanning, capital city of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
Notable players to have featured in past tournaments include Gareth Bale, Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani.