“There is still a big gap between us and European teams.” During the Chinese women’s football team’s training camp in Ibiza, Spain, women’s football coach Shui Qingxia accepted an exclusive interview with a reporter from Xinhua News Agency. This is what she said most .
The Chinese women’s football team has only achieved 1 draw and 1 loss in the two European training games. They have not yet won the official warm-up match this year. Although the record is unsatisfactory, Shui Qingxia believes that through the competition with the strong European teams, the team “gets exercise is the most important thing”.
“Today’s European women’s football represents the higher level of the entire women’s football.” In the interview, Shui Qingxia did not deny that the team often fell behind in front of European opponents. She said: “Playing against them is different in rhythm, domestic competitions and even the Asian Cup. From the speed of offensive and defensive transitions to the degree of confrontation, the overall (level) of European teams is much higher than that of Asian teams.”
On April 11, Shui Qingxia before the warm-up match between the Chinese team and the Spanish team.Photo by Xinhua News Agency reporter Meng Dingbo
Relying on the development of local leagues, European women’s football has made rapid progress in recent years and has gradually distanced itself from Asian teams. The gap in strength is also reflected in the score. On April 6, the Chinese women’s football team, which won the Asian Cup last year, drew 0:0 with the Swiss team, which is only second-rate in Europe; 3 losses, and there are even many important players in the latter team who have not been called into the national team because of disagreements with the coach, and their combat effectiveness has been greatly reduced.
The two warm-up matches exposed many problems. Shui Qingxia said that the Chinese team is at a disadvantage in confrontation, and the accuracy of passing and the efficiency of counterattack also need to be improved. The injuries of main players such as Wang Shanshan and Zhu Yu have a great impact on the team’s formation. On the other hand, the lack of games and poor training conditions of the two star players Wang Shuang and Tang Jiali also caused Shui Qingxia a headache: “After Wang Shuang returned to the United States, her physical fitness is gradually recovering, and Tang Jiali is also better than before after winter training.” They have made progress, but they still need to continue to work hard. The rhythm of offensive and defensive transitions and the degree of confrontation in the World Cup are different. As the core of the team, they may need to pay more.”
Although the results of the warm-up match are not ideal, Shui Qingxia believes that the team as a whole “has improved a bit compared to February”, and the rhythm is also much better. She further affirmed that these games are “very valuable for training”: “No matter what the results are, through them, the coaches can know what problems exist in the team. In addition, we also need to give the players an adaptation process. Now this team is more competitive. Young, some players have just played two or three international competitions, and they still need time to adapt.”
On April 10, Chinese women’s football player Wang Shuang (front right) was training before the warm-up match.Photo by Xinhua News Agency reporter Meng Dingbo
From the training camp in February to this European training session, Shui Qingxia not only selected many new faces for the team, but also constantly tested new lineups in the game to tap the potential of new players. She admitted that she wants to “give young players a chance”: “I think the most important thing is for young players to get exercise. They need to grow up, and it is normal to make some mistakes in the process. Young people must pay tuition fees, but In the future they may become a continuation of the team.”
Encourage overseas study and look forward to more players “going out”
At present, many players in the Chinese women’s football team are playing in overseas leagues, and their joining has brought a lot of fresh air to the national team. In fact, Shui Qingxia has been encouraging players to go abroad since she took charge of the national team. She said: “I hope that more players will go out to experience and adapt to the rhythm of European training and competition, and see what the football atmosphere outside is like.”
Zhang Linyan, who plays for the Swiss Grasshopper team, is one of the best overseas players. The 22-year-old started the game against Switzerland and Spain and was one of the brightest performers in the squad. She is petite in terms of speed, technique, and confrontation with opponents, and she has created threats in front of the opponent’s goal several times. Shui Qingxia commented on Zhang Linyan with the words “small and bold”: “In terms of confrontation and understanding of football, I think she has done a really good job. Whether it is offense or defense, she can play a very important role. I am very satisfied with it.”
On April 11, Chinese team player Zhang Linyan dribbled the ball in the match against Spain.Photo by Xinhua News Agency reporter Meng Dingbo
But not everyone’s journey abroad is smooth sailing. Tang Jiali, who signed with CFF Madrid last summer, had to hastily end her trip to Spain and return home due to visa problems, and was therefore unable to receive systematic training for several months. Shui Qingxia admitted that during the process of studying abroad, players may indeed encounter various difficulties, or there may be ups and downs due to adaptation problems. But she has always believed that studying abroad can allow players to exercise and improve: “Compared with Europeans, there must be some physical gaps between us, but through training and competitions in Europe, you can understand your own strengths and weaknesses and know how to overcome them.” Take advantage of and give full play to the fast and flexible characteristics of Asians; you can find gaps and see your own good points.”
On April 11, Chinese team player Tang Jiali (right) and Spanish team player Ivana Andres scrambled in the match.Photo by Xinhua News Agency reporter Meng Dingbo
On the other hand, how overseas players maintain a balance between the club and the national team is also a big problem. Shui Qingxia said: “The training time of the Chinese team is relatively long. Unlike Europe, where players are scattered in the league and usually play high-level games, the training time is relatively short.” She said that in order not to let the players If you are affected, you need to coordinate and communicate with the club in advance.
Looking forward to the World Cup: “Know the difficulties without complaining”
After the match with the Spanish women’s football team, the Chinese women’s football team has set off to return home. The players will then return to their respective clubs to compete in the league. They will regroup in mid-May to start a new round of preparations for the World Cup.
In the upcoming World Cup, the Chinese team will be in a group consisting of England, Denmark and Haiti. Among them, the first two teams are regarded as the biggest competitors of the Chinese team. In fact, the Chinese women’s football team has frequently played against European opponents recently, and to some extent it is also a warm-up for the competition with Denmark and England.
On April 11, the players of the Chinese team played before the warm-up match against the Spanish team.Photo by Xinhua News Agency reporter Meng Dingbo
Looking forward to the group situation, Shui Qingxia believes that there is “no weak team” in Europe: “England is the European champion. Denmark is also very strong. They won Sweden in the previous game, but we lost to Sweden. And many Danish players are now They all play in the five major leagues, and they are still higher than us in terms of overall level.” As for the Haitian team, which ranks lower in the world, in Shui Qingxia’s view, it is also “not to be underestimated”. “I think this group is actually very difficult,” she said.
On April 10, Shui Qingxia passed the ball to the players during training.Photo by Xinhua News Agency reporter Meng Dingbo
Although the prospects for qualifying are not clear, Shui Qingxia said that the team will make the best preparations: “Of course our goal is to go further. But the game still has to be played one by one. No matter what the result is , The team needs to make proper preparations in terms of physical fitness, skills and tactics. When encountering difficulties, they must think about how to truly integrate the existing personnel, at least let people see that the Chinese women’s football team is a real whole. “She said that for the Chinese women’s football team, the most important thing is to “know the difficulties and not complain.”Return to Sohu to see more