Shui Qingxia Faces Dilemma as World Cup Nears

To prepare for the Women’s World Cup, Asian Games, and Paris Olympic Games qualifiers, the Chinese women’s football team on March 15 launched a new training camp in Shanghai Oriental Land, in the southwestern suburbs, near the Dianshan Lake. Judging from the list of  players called into this training, which spared in-season players playing overseas, the women’s national team head coach Shui Qingxia focused on the front line and center back position to make adjustments. It is reported that after a two-week domestic training, the team will start the second European training camp this year, with plans to play friendly games with Switzerland and Spain in April.


The second training camp in 2023 features a forced yet conspicuous change from the first. starting centre-back Wang Xiaoxue of Wuhan Chegu Jianghan University was seriously injured playing a friendly against Ireland in February. She is still a long way away from recovery. Jiangsu Wuxi’s center back Dou Jiaxing was called in her absence. Si Yu, Li Yifan, and Huang Wang of Changchun and Liu Jieru of Shanghai will be next available, even though Liu has taken on coaching duties this season and is certainly on her way to a post-playing career.


Shui Qingxia also intends to liven up thing up front. Ni Mengjie and Shao Ziqin, who were selected for the first training camp, were not selected this time around. In addition, back to Shanghai, Tang Jiali is selected alongside teammate Xiao Yuyi after a rather mixed experience in Europe. Yan Jinjin, also of Shanghai, is also looked over despite having made it to the earlier training camp. With an increasing Changchun presence, poacher Urgamal was selected to give the team more options in the attack. She played in the Tokyo Olympics and will require more experience to further polish her skills. She will be joined by club teammates Gao Chen, and Gao Jingyao, both of whom featured in the trip to Spain. Her presence will allow the coaching staff to use Wang Shanshan, the team captain who plays both at the front and back, more flexibility.



Nevertheless, the overseas training and games in Spain in February this year gave Shui Qingxia a lot of insight. In the actual test with a European team (two of which, Denmark and England, are in China’s World Cup Group), China showed a huge deficiency in counter-interception after losing the ball, as well as gaps in general technical and tactical sense. According to on-team reporters, the coaching staff also felt positioning is still improvable and reaction time was relatively slow especially during transitions. Defensive aggressiveness is also still lacking. This edition of the Chinese Women National Team’s training camp willl be put on improving these problems through training and playing, with a focus on the aggressiveness of the defense.  Eyes are also set on improve the depth of the offense, by working hard to find more ways to break the aggressive defense of any given opponent.