The scene of a Wang Shuang shedding tears and hugging teammates after 120 minutes in Suzhou on Wednesday, told its own tale.
It had been a year since China PR were due to face Korea Republic in a winner-takes-all showdown for a Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Tokyo 2020 place. Due to the Covid-19, however, the two teams didn’t square off until recently.
Jia Xiuquan’s Steel Roses battled to a 2-1 away win in the first leg in Korea Republic, with Wang scoring the winner, but the Taeguek Ladies emerged a different team in the return match, going in 2-0 up at the break.
— China Women's Football – 中国女足 (@CHNWNT) April 13, 2021
With little over 20 minutes remaining, however, Wang’s free-kick found the head of towering Yang Man to level the aggregate score, before her clinical finish won it for China in extra-time.
“Now we are in the Olympics. It was down to the team’s collective efforts. If you ask me to single out a player of the match, I would say every one of us played a key role and each of us did what we could in helping the team through,” Shuang told Fifa.
“We chased every ball in attack and got stuck in defensively. The entire team strove throughout the two legs to live up to the expectations. Thanks should go to my teammates and the coaching staff, as well as the fans for their consistent support.”
China began their Olympic qualifying campaign in February 2020, which coincided with the outbreak of Covid-19. Hailing from Wuhan, Wang missed out on the group competition in Australia due to her city’s lockdown.
She didn’t, however, sit at home doing nothing. Wang, by contrast, embarked on a self-made training plan, with videos of her indoor training going viral online.
“We went through a hard, 130-day training camp,” Wang explained. “In each day’s training session, we covered over 10,000 metres. We were more than ready for the playoff and when we went out there, we were able to get the better of them”.
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By FARPost Reporter