China’s head coach Shui Qingxia urged her team to perform better and rise to the occasion as the Asian champions faced Denmark in their opening Women’s World Cup match on Saturday. China lost the close encounter 1-0 as Denmark’s Amalie Vangsgaard scored the decisive goal.

The opening game is truly make or break, and it’s difficult to gauge how much of a chance they have to win, Shui said before the game, whose team has been placed in Group D alongside European powerhouses England as well as Denmark, and Haiti.

Also Read: Who is Amalie Vangsgaard? Forward scores to give Denmark 1-0 win over China at 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup

In a time when the country dominated the game inside Asia and competed with the Americans for global supremacy, the Chinese lost to host the United States in a penalty shoot-out at Pasenda Rose Bowl in 1999.

Even though those times are long gone, Shui, an Olympic midfielder who won a silver medal in 1996, hopes that this year’s competition will be the next step in the long journey back to the top.

Also Read: Who is Mandy Teefey?

Who is Shui Qingxia?

Qingxia, who is 56 years old, was born on December 18th, 1966. She is the head coach of the China women’s national football team and a former player in Chinese football. She participated in the Olympic football competitions in 1996 and 2000 as a midfielder for China.

With the Chinese team, Shui won the silver medal in the 1996 Olympics. She took part in all five games. She was a team member of the Chinese team that placed fifth in the women’s tournament four years later, but she didn’t play any games.

Also Read: Who is Kerly Theus? Haiti goalkeeper stuns fans with great performance against England in FIFA World Cup

Shui was the head coach of the “United Team” in the 2021 National Games of China, which featured a large number of players from other countries. She was named manager of the China women’s national team on November 18, 2021, becoming the first Chinese woman to do so. She managed the side to a 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup victory, the country’s first Women’s Asian Cup title in sixteen years.