China backed to win a World Cup by Sven Goran Eriksson
Shanghai SIPG manager Sven Goran Eriksson is predicting that China could win a World Cup within the next 15 years.
China are currently ranked 93 in the FIFA World Ranking and last qualified for a World Cup in 2002 when they failed to claim a point in the group stage.
Former England boss Eriksson was appointed as Shanghai SIPG boss in November 2014 and he believes the future is bright for football in China.
"Ten years ahead, 15 years ahead, I am quite sure that the China national team will compete to win the World Cup," he told reporters on Tuesday ahead of his side's AFC Champions League match at Melbourne Victory on Wednesday.
"The future for China is great."
China are currently third in 2018 World Cup qualification, three points behind second-placed Hong Kong and seven from Group C leaders Qatar.
A number of big-name players have signed for Chinese clubs, with Jiangsu Suning paying Chelsea £25 million for Ramires and Shakhtar Donetsk £38.5m for Alex Teixeira, while Guangzhou Evergrande landed Jackson Martinez for £32m.
And Eriksson added: "I think I am at the right place at the right time.
"I've been lucky. I was in Italy during the 90s when every football player wanted to come to Italy because there was more money and the football was very, very good.
"Then the 2000s, the English Premier League, all the players wanted to go there.
"Now 2016, it seems like every football player wants to come to China. For Chinese football it's very, very good."