The first China Cup International Football Championship is set to kick off in Nanning, the capital of China’s Guangxi Autonomous Region in January 2017.
Chile (fourth in FIFA rankings), Croatia (14th) and Iceland (21st) will join the hosts from January 10-15, organisers said at Wednesday’s inauguration ceremony for the tournament.
China will face off against Iceland – who shocked the world in beating England during the summer’s European Championship – in the tournament’s opening match on January 10.
“We are only inviting overseas teams that ranked among the top 30 in the FIFA world rankings,” said Wang Jianlin, president of the Wanda Group.
“We hope that the China Cup will become a great platform for the Chinese national squad to play against the top-class teams in the world, and also a great opportunity to promote the development of sports industry in China.”
Speaking at the tournament’s launch in July, organisers Wanda Group and the Chinese Football Association (CFA) – who penned a ten-year agreement earlier this year – revealed their intention for the format to grow from four to eight teams if successful.