China finalise World Cup squad, target quarter-finals

BEIJING (Reuters) – Asian champions China are aiming to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Women’s World Cup after coach Xu Qingxia named her 23-player squad for the tournament.


A spokesperson for the Chinese Football Association told Reuters on Thursday that the team will leave for Adelaide on Friday, where they will be stationed during the tournament.


The Chinese team for the tournament, which Australia and New Zealand will host from July 20 to August 20, includes nine players with World Cup experience, including captain Wang Shanshan and star striker Wang Shuang.


Runners-up in 1999, China were knocked out in the round of 16 at the latest edition in France, but their dramatic Asian Cup victory over South Korea last year means hopes are high on their way to the tournament.


Choi tried to keep expectations in check.


“We must understand that the World Cup and the Asian Cup are completely different, and it will be more difficult,” she was quoted as saying by Xinhua on Wednesday.


The players put the finishing touches on their preparations in the northern city of Qingdao, where they beat Russia 1-0 and 2-1 in recent friendlies.


Choi says she feels nervous ahead of her first World Cup as a coach.


“No matter what happens in the World Cup, I hope the players face challenges with a smile,” the former midfielder, who took over the team in late 2021, told reporters.


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China will play Denmark in Perth in the opening match of Group D on July 22 before taking on Haiti and England.


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