China’s entry into the 2014 World Championship marks the nation’s 13th appearance in the tournament since they first competed in 1956. Their best finish so far has been seventh place, achieved in Italy in 1978 and Argentina four years later.
The Chinese have finished in the top 10 on three other occasions – 1956, 1962 and 1966 – although recent years have not been so kind, with a 19th-place finish in the 2010 World Championship and failure to qualify for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Keen to rebuild and bring through a new generation of players, China appointed Xie Guochen as head coach in April 2013. The new man has had a positive effect, and this year his side returned to the World League competition after a four-year hiatus, and finished third in the final round of Group 3. Under Xie they also finished third in the 2013 Asian Championship in the United Arab Emirates.
Buoyed by that uplift in form, China’s men are now pushing for a first international medal. Their best results on the world stage so far have been a fifth-place finish at both the 1997 World Grand Champions Cup and the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.