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China women get aid from Germany, adding consultant, physical trainer

China women get aid from Germany, adding consultant, physical trainer

China's women's soccer team is getting help from Germany.
Well-traveled German coach Eckhard Krautzun arrived a few days ago, in time to see China's 2-0 victory over England on Friday in the Four Nations tournament in southern China.
A German physical trainer has also just arrived to help the Chinese women.
It all adds to the intrigue. Not so much for this warm-up event, but certainly for the 16-team women's World Cup set to open in China in 7 1/2 months.
China coach Ma Liangyu is missing from the Four Nations tournament, suffering with what Chinese team officials say is a heart problem. His assistant, Wang Haiming, is coaching the team and has promised "to have the team in shape when Mr. Ma returns."
Many don't think he will.
Upset last month by Japan in the Asian Games, China is struggling to regain its profile as Asia's top team. North Korea is now No. 1. Still fresh in the memory is Germany's 8-0 thrashing of China in the Athens Olympics, hard to take for a nation that was second to the U.S. in the 1999 World Cup.
Though Chinese reporters are suggesting the German may take over the team, Krautzun denies it.
"My role is as a technical consultant," Krautzun said Saturday in an interview with The Associated Press. "I'm here to help the coaches, evaluate the play and help with the practices."
Krautzun is the latest in a long stream of foreign coaches brought to China, mostly with the 2008 Beijing Olympics in mind.
Krautzun, who has never coached women's soccer, is one of the biggest names in Germany. He's coached a half dozen Bundesliga teams, and has coached five national teams _ Canada, South Korea, Tunisia, Kenya and the Philippines.
Krautzun isn't new to China. He's also coached China's men's youth team.
"We all know about his reputation, we just don't know what he knows about the women's game," Germany coach Silvia Neid said.
To that, Krautzun replied: "I haven't coached the women, but I've seen China play several times. They are skillful and tactically very good, but need to get stronger like the Germans and Americans."
Asked where his loyalties would be on Sunday when Germany plays China, he replied: "I am employed by the Chinese soccer federation, so I want China to win."
In Friday's opening games, China defeated England 2-0, and Germany drew 0-0 with the United States.
On Sunday, No. 9 China faces No. 1 Germany, and No. 2 United States plays No. 12 England. The tournament ends Tuesday with England playing Germany, and the United States facing China in the 80,000-seat Guangdong Olympic Stadium.


Updated : 2021-03-04 23:42 GMT+08:00