China players applaud the fans in Adelaide (Brenton EDWARDS)
Tearful Chinese star Wang Shuang said her team were “not particularly good role models” after they were dumped out of the Women’s World Cup with a 6-1 humiliation at the hands of England.
China were once a leading power in women’s football but their heyday, when they came fourth in 1995 and reached the final four years later, now looks a long time ago.
“We are not particularly good role models,” Wang, fighting back tears, told reporters in Adelaide after China’s World Cup came crashing down at the group stage for the first time.
The former Paris Saint-Germain player added: “We hope that Chinese children in the future can play football better.
“And we also hope that the domestic coaches can try to cultivate children who can play so that they will not be so embarrassed when they play for the national side in the future.”
The Asian champions were edged 1-0 by Denmark in their opening game, conceding in the 89th minute, and then they survived for an hour with 10 players in a 1-0 win over Haiti thanks to a Wang penalty.
But any hope China had of reaching the knockout stages in Australia and New Zealand was ruthlessly wiped out by European champions England.
Wang scored from the spot again just before the hour to make it 3-1, before England raced away once more.
It was the first time that the Steel Roses had exited at the group stage and coach Shui Qingxia said the gulf between her side and European teams was “huge”.