On October 7, 2001, the Chinese men’s national football team made history. That was the night China took on bottom side Oman at Wulihe Stadium in Shenyang.
The hosts knew that a win would secure them a place at the 2002 Fifa World Cup in Japan and South Korea.
Oman were winless in their group, while China were unbeaten in five games, and it went to form despite the hosts missing their top scorer, Qi Hong, who was booked against UAE days beforehand.
A 36th-minute goal from midfielder Yu Genwei was enough for China to seal their place at their first World Cup Finals.
China coach Bora Milutinovic was not taking anything for granted, declaring the 1-0 win over the UAE in the previous game to be lucky.
“We were lucky to win,” he said after that game. “Now we have a very good chance of qualifying for the World Cup, but the fact is we haven’t yet qualified. We have to keep working hard until we achieve our goal.”
They did that days later in Shenyang, Liaoning province, in front of 50,000 fans. Milutinovic also became the first coach to take five different nations to the World Cup Finals – Mexico (1986), Costa Rica (1990), USA (1994) and Nigeria (1998).