Women's World Cup - China's Prospects
In 2006 China finally felt a sense of achievement. China became Asian Champions (AFC Womenâ€™s Championship) after having asserted itself against the two strongest rivals Korea and Australia. This was the first title since 2001 that was awarded to the once so strong â€˜Steely rosesâ€™, as they used to be known.
The team has been intensively restructured in recent years. Nevertheless, the current team still has very much to do in order to regain its former respective status. In the team as it is today, there is no single player who belonged to the â€˜Golden Generationâ€™. There are instead many inexperienced newcomers. Despite this, two of the young newcomers have become real stars. For example the striker Ma Xiaoxu and the goalkeeper Zhang Yanru, who breathe new life and much optimism into the team. Both of whom played in 2006 still with the U-20 selection.
The new coach:
After the least successful coach Ma Liangxing was dismissed, China turned its attention to Europe. Former coach of the Swedish womenâ€™s football national eleven, Domanski-Lyfors, was appointed to be the new coach on 27 March 2007 in Wuhan. She is the first foreigner to coach the Chinese womenâ€™s team. She does not lack in experience, since she sat on the bench in 1991 and from 1996 to 2005 was national coach of the Swedish womenâ€™s football team. She does not only bring with her experience but also a lot of self-confidence, â€œMy goal is to reach in 2007 a place within the first four. I am convinced that I will bring the team to world class level and that not only for the World Cup 2007, but also for the Olympic Games 2008.â€ She speaks of â€œlimitless potential,â€ so we may await in eager anticipation if her strong words will be followed by brilliant achievements.