The road to Canada
Asian qualifiers for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup™ proved to be a redemptive campaign for China PR, after missed a place in the global showpiece at Germany 2011 for the first time in history. The eight-time champions opened with a 7-0 rout of Thailand which was followed by a 3-0 defeat of Myanmar during the group phase as China finished in the top two to progress to the semi-finals, despite also being held by Korea Republic to a goalless draw. With their qualifying mission already completed, the Steel Roses switched their sights to the continental champions but their hopes were shattered losing 2-1 to Japan. Despite the setback, the Chinese went on to edge out Korea Republic by an identical scoreline in the third-place play-off.
Strengths and style
The current squad are youthful with the majority born after 1990. Although there are no headline names or legendary figures, Hao Wei's new-look team are strong as a unit. Having spent the past three years playing and training together, the team enjoy a feel of unity and understanding. They are used to a rather defensive strategy and usually keep strong opponents at bay through their exceptional physical capacity. Then the team can counter-attack relying on the pace and goal-scoring ability of Ma Jun and Yang Li, both of whom have made a name for themselves in Korea Republic.
Since taking over in 2011, Hao Wei has earned a reputation for his efforts in building a young, technically strong side. The former Shandong Luneng defender began his coaching career in men's football, assisting Serbian Slobodan Santrac with Chinese Super League side Changsha Ginde in 2007. After two year's apprenticeship he took over in 2009 at the age of 33 and became the youngest head coach in the domestic competition. He was appointed the women's manager three years ago and has since completed a regeneration of the squad.
FIFA Women’s World Cup record
- Canada 2015 marks China’s sixth appearance in the Women’s World Cup, having featured in all the past editions except Germany 2011
- China made it through to the knockout stage in their past five appearances, including finishing runners-up at USA 1999
What they said
“The average age of our players is under 23 and we are one of the youngest sides of the tournament. We have laid the foundation for the future national team. Many of them are still very young going into next year’s Women’s World Cup as well as the 2016 Olympic Games so they can represent the country for many years," Hao Wei, China coach