Can China Turn Around Recent Patchy Form To Make an Impact In Australia & New Zealand?

China’s Wang Shuang. Photo: Xinhua

With the World Cup just sleeps away one team that has gone under the radar is China. The Asian champions have been placed in a fairly favourable group consisting of England, Denmark and Haiti. This could boost hopes of a possible long stay in this year’s competition.

Why exactly have people ruled out this very talented team? Well, the simple answer is form… With a very patchy run of results since winning the Asian Cup China are not going into this World Cup expected to do well. However, in the 2019 World Cup China came into the competition on slightly worse form and made it to the round of 16 before narrowly losing out to Italy. Could the Chinese luck strike again?

Other than in 2011 when China did not qualify for the World Cup they have made it out of their group. Finishing top of the group twice (1991 and 2003), finishing 2nd three times (1995, 2007 and 2015), and best third placed team once (2019).

Since the appointment of Shui Qingxia, China has won the only competition she was China Head Coach for which was the AFC Women’s Asian Cup in 2022. Qingxia has played for the Chinese Women’s Team as a player before in previous World Cups and has said she will be relying on her playing career to help her in Australia/New Zealand.

China will kick off their World Cup campaign against Denmark which could be vital to ensuring progression with 2nd place looking to be battled out between these two sides.6 Days later China will come up against Haiti which depending on if China can beat Denmark in Gameday one and England does the same on Gameday two would mean a victory would all but secure progression to the knockouts which is what China will be hoping for as on the last gameday of the group stage sees the Asian Champions take on the European Champions and if China can match England’s results against Denmark and Haiti it would be a winner takes top spot fixture.

Wang Shuang hopes they can lead her country to success just like she did four years ago. The Chinese Striker has suffered with Impostor syndrome throughout her career and being part of the national team has helped her overcome this gain belief in herself and her abilities.

Another player to look out for is Zhang Linyan. The 22-year-old Grasshoppers forward has been consistent in the goal-scoring charts since being introduced to first-team football at club level. This will be Linyan’s first World Cup however she managed to score two goals in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup last year.

The Squad 

Goalkeepers: Xu Huan (Wuhan Jianghan University), Zhu Yu (Jiangsu), Zhao Lina (Shanghai Shengli)

Defenders: Wu Haiyan (Wuhan Jianghan University), Yao Wei (Wuhan Jianghan University)
Wang Linlin (Shanghai Shengli), Gao Chen Changchun Dazhong Zhouyue, Chen Qiaozhu Meizhou Hakka, Li Mengwen (Paris Saint-Germain) (on-loan from Jiangsu), Dou Jiaxing (Jiangsu), Lou Jiahui (Henan Jianye)

Midfielders: Zhang Rui (Shandong Sports Lottery), Yao Lingwei (Wuhan Jianghan University)
Gu Yasha (Wuhan Jianghan University), Zhang Xin (Shanghai Shengli), Yang Lina (Levante Las Planas) (on-loan from Shanghai Shengli), Wu Chengshu (Canberra United), Zhang Linyan (Grasshoppers), Shen Mengyu (Celtic)

Strikers: Wang Shuang (Racing Louisville), Wang Shanshan (Tianjin Shengde), Tang Jiali (Shanghai Shengli), Xiao Yuyi (Shanghai Shengli)

Player to Watch : MF: Shen Mengyu (Celtic)
Top Goalscorer : ST: Wang Shuang (Racing Louisville)
Most Assists: ST : Wang Shanshan (Tianjin Shengde)
Final Finish: Round of 16 

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