Home » Chinese Women’s Football Team at a Crossroads: Rebuilding After Missing Paris Olympics and Disappointing Performances in Major Competitions

Chinese Women’s Football Team at a Crossroads: Rebuilding After Missing Paris Olympics and Disappointing Performances in Major Competitions

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Missed the Paris Olympics and performed poorly in the “three major competitions” throughout the year

Original title: Missed the Paris Olympics and performed poorly in the “three major competitions” throughout the year

What’s next for the Chinese women’s football team

Beijing Daily reporter Zhao Xiaosong

After failing in the Paris Olympic qualifying round, the Chinese women’s football team missed the Olympic finals for the second time in team history after the 2012 London Olympics. In this regard, the Chinese women’s football team’s “three major competitions” of this year’s World Cup, Asian Games, and Olympic preliminaries have come to an end, and the team failed to achieve outstanding results. Under such circumstances, this glorious team that stood on top of Asia again 21 months ago for the first time in 16 years has reached a crossroads of reconstruction.

Veterans have faded out, and new players are urgently needed to take the lead.

After the Korean team tied 1-1 in the final match of the Olympic preliminaries, Wang Shanshan said with tears in an interview, “If you fight hard, you won’t have any regrets.” Coach Shui Qingxia also took the initiative to thank Wang Shanshan, Zhang Rui, Lou Jiahui and other veterans for their years of support to the team at the press conference.

Even without these farewell words, with the Chinese women’s football team missing the Paris Olympics, 33-year-old Wang Shanshan, 34-year-old Zhang Rui, 32-year-old Lou Jiahui, as well as Zhang Xin (31 years old) and Gu Yasha, who were not selected for the lineup this time, (32 years old), Wu Haiyan (30 years old) and other older generation “roses” have also come to say goodbye. It is understood that some of them will prepare for the transition to coaches next.

Objectively speaking, the current Chinese women’s football team has indeed reached a time when it needs to be updated. In the “three major competitions” they participated in this year, the Chinese women’s football team felt the “youth power” of their opponents. In the World Cup, the average age of the Chinese team’s starting lineup in the three group matches was higher than that of its opponents; in the Hangzhou Asian Games semi-finals loss to Japan, the average age of the Chinese women’s football team’s starting lineup was 27.3 years old, almost 6 years older than their opponents. Years old; in the first game of the Olympic preliminaries when they lost to the North Korean team, the eldest player in the opponent’s team was born in 1998, and only two of the 11 starting players were born before 2000.

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In the Chinese team, there are only 6 “post-00” players. Previously, only Zhang Linyan could really occupy the main position. In this Olympic preliminaries, Dou Jiaxing and Shen Mengyu got a lot of training opportunities and performed well.

If you are absent from the competition, you have to rely on your internal strength to improve.

Shui Qingxia, who has coached the team for two full years, has also reached a crossroads about whether to continue leading the team. As usual, the Chinese women’s football coaching staff will next provide the Chinese Football Association with a comprehensive summary of preparations and competitions for this cycle. The Football Association will evaluate the coaching work of Shui Qingxia’s team based on the team’s performance. After missing out on the Olympics, Shui Qingxia did not immediately clarify her future. It is understood that after the game, she thanked the players and staff in the locker room for their support and offered them her blessings.

Yesterday, the Chinese women’s football team was disbanded in Xiamen. Players who “study abroad” returned to their respective leagues, and players who played domestically also returned to prepare for the 17th round of this season’s Women’s Super League, which kicks off this weekend.

According to arrangements, the Chinese women’s football team will go to the United States in early December to play two warm-up matches with the US women’s football team. After missing out on the Paris Olympics, the next major competition task for the Chinese women’s football team is the 2026 Asian Cup. This means that in the next two years or so, the team can only run in the lineup and increase competition experience through similar warm-up matches, as well as invitational tournaments such as the Algarve Cup and the East Asian Cup.

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Under such circumstances, the Chinese women’s football team needs to practice its internal skills if it wants to regroup. After the draw with the South Korean team, Shui Qingxia said that through the “three major competitions”, she saw the gap between the Chinese women’s football team and the world‘s high-level teams. If she wants to catch up, she should work hard on youth training in the future. At the same time, she also hopes that more players will go abroad to experience and improve in high-level European leagues, and then return to China to promote the development of domestic women’s football.

On the other hand, domestic leagues that provide training opportunities for more Chinese female football players are equally important. The reporter has watched many Women’s Super League games live in recent seasons and clearly felt that the rhythm of the game, the degree of confrontation, and the technical and tactical levels were significantly different from those of the national team. In addition, many domestic women’s super teams still have survival problems, which have restricted the progress of the Chinese women’s football team.

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