China looking for good start at Women's Asian Cup
CHINA, which finished third at the 2014 AFC Women’s Asian Cup, is looking for a flying start in the 2018 edition of the tournament.
“We must win our opener against Thailand,” said Zhao Lina, the goalkeeper who retired two months ago but eventually rejoined the national team, on Wednesday.
The tournament will run from today until April 20 in Amman, Jordan.
The Chinese team held pre-tournament training at Amman International Stadium, the main venue for the event, late in the afternoon on Wednesday.
“I came back because the team needs me,” said the 27-year-old goalkeeper who in February announced her retirement from international football for personal reasons via her social media account.
Zhao insisted that the most important thing is team unity, no matter whether she is the first choice or not, adding that she was doing her best in training while struggling to recover her fitness.
Another returning player, Gu Yasha, said that the Chinese team should not underestimate Thailand and must be careful about the opponents’ counter-attacks.
The experienced midfielder also left the team some time ago to focus on her studies. She decided to return after being persuaded by the national team coaching staff.
“For me, the priority is to help my teammates at such a big event,” said Gu, adding that the team should embrace pressure as a motivator and stick to its own brand of football.
China will also face the Philippines and host Jordan in Group A while Japan, Australia, South Korea and Vietnam will battle it out in Group B.
The top five will win tickets to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
China, as the most successful side in the history of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup with a record eight trophies to its name, whitewashed Thailand 7-0 in the previous tournament held in Vietnam in 2014.