Interview: Wang Shuang vows to make Hangzhou fans proud after World Cup defeat

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HANGZHOU, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- From a long-awaited Asian Cup triumph last year to a disappointing World Cup group stage exit last month, China women's football star Wang Shuang has gone through ups and downs with the national team over the past two years.

With the Steel Roses' opening match of the Hangzhou Asian Games coming on Friday, Wang told Xinhua that the whole team will try their best to win the hearts of Chinese fans.

"The World Cup loss is in the past, and we have to keep looking forward. I hope we can play our own style of football in the Asian Games, so that everyone can be proud of us again," the 28-year-old forward noted.

In the 2023 Women's World Cup, China were eliminated in the group stage for the first time in the team's history and suffered a 6-1 defeat against England, when Wang found herself mired in controversy after questioning the development of China's women's football in her post-match interviews.

Wang said she was not bothered by those critics. "I know that I can't make everyone like me. I just stick to who I am and work hard to improve myself."

"I don't think we are good role models because we didn't perform well at the biggest stage like World Cup," she explained." But the majority of the fans were tolerant and didn't blame us at all, which made me feel even more ashamed."

"We hope the younger generation can look up to us not only for the fighting spirit, but also for the good technical and tactical capabilities we displayed on the pitch. That's what we need to do at the Asian Games," she added.

The former Paris Saint-Germain forward, who now plays for Racing Louisville in the U.S., also emphasized that playing in a top-level league overseas is the best option for Chinese players to improve.

"From the World Cup, we could see that European teams such as England have improved greatly in terms of technical and tactical capabilities. Many female players can now utilize the techniques that only male players could previously do thanks to the development of their professional leagues. It's important for us to learn and improve overseas."

"I chose to play in the U.S. this time because I wanted to experience a different style of football, and I hope I can be stronger when I return," she said. "You can feel the growth of women's football when you play abroad. For example, every game we have over 5,000 spectators, which is very rare for our domestic clubs."

Despite all the obstacles, the Wuhan native says she still believes Chinese women's football will improve in future, noticing that more young girls now participate in the sport in her hometown.

"Wuhan now has more girls play football than previously. The number is growing every year. The city has a professional women's football club, which is very good for the development of youngsters."

"I want to tell all girls who love football that it's more than a competition, it's a lifestyle. It helps you stay healthy and have a positive mentality. No matter whether you want to play professionally or not, you can enjoy the lifestyle a lot. Just be brave and do whatever you love," Wang added. Enitem

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