Author Topic: China women's soccer coach still hopes for Olympic medal after EAsia loss  (Read 750 times)

Offline David

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CHONGQING, China (AFP) — The coach of China's women's football team has insisted they remain on target for a medal at the Beijing Olympics, despite their humiliating 3-0 loss to Japan at the East Asian championship.

"I'm still very confident of our target in the Olympic Games," Elisabeth Loisel said after the defeat, which left the squad in third place with a win, a draw and a loss in the four-nation round-robin, won by undefeated Japan.

"I'm not very sure that within six months we can solve all the problems," said the Frenchwoman, who took the job after China lost 1-0 to traditional powerhouse Norway in the World Cup quarter-finals at home last September.

"But I think we're going to find a better solution in our defence line."

Japan's Shinobu Ohno scored two goals in the first half of Sunday's game, and Yuki Nagasato headed the ball past Chinese goalkeeper Zhang Yangru 10 minutes into the second half to complete the 3-0 shutout.

China squandered several chances to strike back to Japan before 25,000 roaring fans at the jam-packed Yongchuan Stadium in Chongqing.

"We are going to make our defence more solid and I think, in the last two games, our defence line was okay," said Loisel, who has clashed with officials and faced media doubts over her abilities and training methods.

"But we're going to do a better job in the future."

She has repeatedly promised to help the Steel Roses win a medal. China remain Asia's only Olympic medallists, having finished runners-up to the United States in the inaugural women's event in 1996.

Asia's top-ranked side North Korea, who drew 0-0 with China, ended second on better goal difference than China. South Korea, who won the inaugural women's event at home in 2005, finished winless.

It was Japan's third straight international win over China since their scoreless draw at the last East Asian event.

"I have built up the team with greater organisation," said Japanese coach Norio Sasaki, who took over the squad after they failed to go beyond the World Cup group stage.

"China were in bad condition today but they have highly skilful individual players. I don't believe we can beat them again by 3-0 if we meet again."

Japan and North Korea have qualified for the Olympics, joining host China in Beijing.