Asian champions China ready to face World Cup pressure, says captain

China won their first title in 16 years when they beat South Korea in the Women’s Asian Cup final in 2022 and captain Wang Shanshan said they must now cope with the pressure of being regional champions at the World Cup.

Wang scored five goals to be named the Asian Cup’s best player in February last year, China’s 3-2 win over the Koreans in the final showing how much progress had been made in Chinese women’s football over the years, she added.

“I think there is still some pressure because the Asian Cup is a thing of the past and on the world stage we’ll face not just Asian teams, but world-class sides,” Wang told Fifa+ on Tuesday (May 9).

“So there’s definitely still a lot of pressure on us. Every team at the World Cup is very strong and we have to be prepared for more difficulties.”

China, runners-up at the 1999 World Cup, are in Group D with England, Haiti and Denmark at this year’s tournament, which will be held in Australia and New Zealand from July 20 to Aug 20.

Nicknamed the Steel Roses, China have played at the World Cup finals seven times, finishing fourth in the 1995 edition and reaching the round of 16 in France in 2019.

Wang said the team have become more cohesive under coach Shui Qingxia since she took over in Nov 2021.

“Under coach Shui, we are playing our own game,” she added. “The hope now is that we can show the spirit of Chinese women’s football and our radical tactics at a higher level and on a bigger stage.”

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