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FIFA Women's World Cup™

China PR

China v Thailand - AFC Women's Asian Cup Third Place Match
© Getty Images

FIFA Women's World Cup record
China PR's status as one of the pioneers of the women's game needs little introduction. China emerged as a force to be reckoned with in the inaugural competition in 1991 where they finished among the last-eight as hosts. The Steel Roses then stormed into the semi-finals four years later in Sweden, before a narrow penalty shoot-out defeat against hosts USA in the iconic 1999 final. With the golden generation's retirement, though, China struggled to maintain that momentum and failed to progress beyond the quarter-finals in the next two editions, including on home soil in 2007. The difficulties facing them were such that a transitional Chinese side failed to qualify for Germany 2011. Recent years have seen the East Asians rebuilding strongly, and they reached the quarter-finals on their return to the global showpiece at Canada 2015.

The road to France
China's qualification for France 2019 proved to be straightforward. The Steel Roses routed Thailand 4-0 in the opener of the 2018 AFC Women's Asian Cup before sweeping past the Philippines 3-1 to book passage to their seventh FIFA Women's World Cup™, becoming the world's first team to join hosts France in the global showpiece. A 3-1 semi-final loss to Japan ended hopes of recapturing the Asian title, but they bounced back to defeat Thailand in the third-place play-off.

The coach
Jia Xiuquan was appointed as China PR coach in May 2018, replacing Icelander Siggi Eyjolfsson, who successfully guided the Steel Roses through Asian zone qualifying for France 2019. The former Chinese international defender was hugely successful during his playing days, notably finishing as joint top goalscorer and winning the Most Valuable Player award at the 1984 AFC Asian Cup, as China PR finished runners-up in Singapore that year. Since 1994, he has earned a reputation as an accomplished homegrown coach following spells with a number of Chinese clubs and several of the country’s national men’s youth teams.

The stat
7 - The number of goals scored by China forward Li Ying during Asian qualifying. The 25-year-old, whose goals came in five matches, was the tournament's top-scorer and established her place as the team's new attacking outlet.