Zheng and Dong head China soccer squad for Beijing

BEIJING (Reuters) - Charlton midfielder Zheng Zhi and Manchester United striker Dong Fangzhuo are the only two overseas-based players in China’s 18-strong squad for next month’s Beijing Olympics.

China's Zheng Zhi controls the ball during a soccer training session in Tianjin June 6, 2008. REUTERS/ Fadi Al-Assaad

Zheng, 27, is one of the three over-age players allowed in the under-23 squad for the Olympic tournament, which will take place in five Chinese cities from August 6-23.

Shanghai defender Li Weifeng, 29, and Shandong target man Han Peng, 24, are the other two, the Chinese Football Association said on its website ( ).

Dong played twice for United last season -- in the Carling Cup and as a substitute in a Champions League match -- before his season was ended prematurely by a knee injury.

Yin Tiesheng assumed control of the squad last week after the CFA took the day-to-day running of the team away from Serbian coach Ratomir Dujkovic, citing health reasons.

China open their campaign against New Zealand in Shenyang on August 7 and will also face Brazil and Belgium in opening round Group C. The top two teams go through to the quarter-finals.

Shanghai midfielder Shen Longyuan and Dalian striker Zhu Ting along with goalkeeper Zhang Lu and midfielder Dai Lin, who both play for Liaoning, have been put on standby.


Goalkeepers: Qiu Shengjiong (Shanghai), Liu Zhenli (Qingdao)

Defenders: Li Weifeng (Shanghai), Yuan Weiwei (Shandong), Feng Xiaoting (Dalian), Wan Houliang (Xian), Tan Wangsong (Tianjin), Lu Jianjun (Changchun)

Midfielders: Zheng Zhi (Charlton), Zhou Haibin (Shandong), Cui Peng (Shandong), Hao Junmin (Tianjin), Zhao Xuri (Dalian), Chen Tao (Changsha)

Forwards: Han Peng (Shandong), Gao Lin (Shanghai), Jiang Ning (Qingdao), Dong Fangzhuo (Manchester United)

Reporting by Liu Zhen; Editing by Nick Mulvenney and Peter Rutherford