- Yang Li has missed some big chances for China PR at France 2019
- She has been full of regret and apologies in subsequent interviews
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By Qian Sun with China PR
There has been plenty of discussion about Yang Li here at the FIFA Women’s World Cup™, but the talk has been the kind that strikers would prefer to avoid: concentrating not on her goals, but on her misses.
In the first half of China PR’s opening game against Germany, Yang Li had two gilt-edged chances to score only to see one blocked by the keeper and the other clip the post.
The Germans went on to win 1-0 and, afterwards, a few journalists remarked that she had been unlucky.
“Strength is as important as luck,” she replied, tears still in her eyes. “If it wasn’t for me, we could have won. I feel so sorry. I can’t stop thinking about it. I feel guilty”.
More missed opportunities followed in China’s subsequent game against South Africa when Yang Li came off the bench. Although she did not score, Yang Li sparked the team’s attack with her all-round play and this did not go unnoticed by her coach.
“Once Yang Li was on the field, she transformed the game and created opportunities,” Jia Xiuquan said with a smile. “A good player is judged not only on scoring but her impact on the team as a whole”.
With Yang Li continually in the right place at the right time, it seems inevitable that goals will eventually follow. Agile and mobile, she has been a key member of the Chinese squad since starring at the 2014 AFC Women’s Championship.
Only a late training ground injury prevented her taking part in the last Women's World Cup.
“I took the plane back from Canada shortly before the tournament started - such a pity,” she said. “I have participated in almost every major tournament and never had the chance to play in the World Cup, so this time I want to make the most of it.”
Moving past those missed chances remains a challenge though. “I still just feel very bad about those misses,” she said, tears welling again. “And the first person I should apologise to is the coach. I let him down.”
“I think the team played the last three games well, and me too - after missing the chances against Germany. It influenced my confidence but by the third game I had already relaxed more and now I’m just trying to run, fight and score. I just have to be more confident."
Having gone from tears to smiles, Yang ended the interview with a clenched fist: the personification of determination.
Her vow? “I will score in the next game!”
Fans interested in attending the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 can still purchase tickets for the tournament via www.fifa.com/tickets, as well as via ticket booths located at stadia for remaining matches still available to the general public.