German coach singles out China's Wang Shuang for praise ahead of World Cup clash
German assistant coach Britta Carlson has heaped praise on Chinese star Wang Shang, saying she can be the key to China's group-stage clash with Germany in the 2019 Women's World Cup in France.
"We watched the warm-up friendly between China and France. We know the strength of the Chinese team. They're very offensive, playing directly in the box and trying to score early," said the 41-year-old Carlson.
"And they have good strikers like Wang Shuang and Wang Shanshan. Wang Shuang is a great dribbler and could be a key for the game," added Carlson, "but I think we've prepared very well. We have to build the team with flexibility."
Carlson said that everyone in the German team is fit and in good shape. "We can use every player in our squad during the game."
China lost to Germany 1-0 in the quarterfinal of the 2016 Rio Olympics but Carlson believed China have changed a lot. "They're becoming much stronger and are a total different team now."
The German squad is the fifth youngest among the 24 teams with an average age of 25 years and 10 months.
"The young players are very relaxed now. They are likely to play like they're training. Concerning the quality, they have all the right to be here with the team and will help the team a lot," said Carlson.
Wang Shuang (R) during a training session in Beijing, May 20, 2019. /VCG Photo

Wang Shuang (R) during a training session in Beijing, May 20, 2019. /VCG Photo

"People used to have higher expectation on us to win the Cup, but we don't have the pressure currently from the outside world. The World Cup is becoming more competitive with many strong opponents.
"Nobody is asking for a title, so the team will be playing without any pressure. I hope the team will play completely free and show what they have," said Carlson.
"We're here to get the best result. We want to be qualified for the Olympics which means we have to be one of the three best European teams. So we need to fight into the semifinals because European teams are very strong."
Captain Alexandra Popp, 28, has played as either forward or midfielder. On her preferred position, she joked "as a goalkeeper" at first.
"I can show my best strength as central forward, but it's possible to change the position on the pitch, as the coach guides. I'll play my best in every position with all my heart. The Chinese team plays the same system. They're very offensive and dangerous," said Popp.
"As the captain, I'm here to help the young players to make improvement. I want to be the same player without any pressure. The only change is I've become more grown-up," smiled Popp.
Source(s): Xinhua News Agency