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Nanjing: With six points from two matches and a place in the semi-finals confirmed, few could argue with China’s results, but the manner of their victories has left some – including head coach Hesterine de Reus – wanting more.

Now, with 2-0 wins over Uzbekistan and Thailand under their belt, the hosts face their biggest test yet, in the shape of a DPR Korea side who racked up 11 goals against the same opposition.

It’s a challenge welcomed by de Reus.

“I’m very happy that the next game is against DPR Korea,” said the experienced boss.

“That will be a tough game with high speed, good skills and very strong opponents, so that will be a very good test for the match where we can win the ticket (to the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup).

“It’s our goal to win one of the three tickets. The first goal – to qualify for the next round – is realised, and we can set some new goals.”

With both sides already assured of a semi-final, top spot in Group A is the only thing on the line in the match, something the former Australia and Jordan coach said could help her players

“Of course it makes a difference if you win or lose – but not too much difference - so it’s a good opportunity to release the stresses and just play better football,” she said.

One Chinese player who has already played good football in Nanjing is Zhao Yujie (pictured below), and the 18-year-old creative force is content with the team’s progress thus far.

“I feel good,” she explained.

“We would like to qualify for the U-20 World Cup, but - as you know – the ball is round and anything can happen, but all of our players working hard and trying their best.”

Zhao is familiar with DPR Korea’s players from previous meetings, and said she has noticed a difference in their approach since the arrival of German boss Thomas Gerstner.

“We played against DPR Korea before when I was younger and we played in their country, so we know that they have very good players,” said Zhao, who has started both matches so far.

“They are flexible; I think maybe having a new coach has given them a new style.”

Gerstner, who remains upbeat despite seeing his side waste a number of chances in their 2-0 win over Uzbekistan, said he was looking for another win.

“Each sportsman and each sportswoman always wants to go out and get a victory so, for sure, we will beat China,” he confidently predicted.

“Its nice to have this opponent in our group. Its nice that we are both already in the next stage, but yeah, for sure, we will win.”

The two nations – both permanent AFC U-19 Women’s Championship contenders - have met in every edition of the tournament, with DPR Korea winning the last five matches.

China’s last win came in the 2006 final, when a goal from Ma Xiaoxu secured another trophy to add to the AFC Women’s Asian Cup in what was an unforgettable year for women’s football in the country.


China PR v DPR Korea – AFC U-19 Women’s Championship Head to Head

Year

Result

Stage

Venue

2002

China PR 4 DPR Korea 1

Third place

Goa, India

2004

China PR 1 DPR Korea 1 (6-5p)

Semi final

Suzhou, China

2006

China PR 1 DPR Korea

Final

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

2007

DPR Korea 4 China PR 1

Semi final

Chongqing, China

2009

DPR Korea 1 China PR 0

Third place

Wuhan, China

2011

DPR Korea 4 China PR 0

Round Robin

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

2013

DPR Korea 1 China PR 0

Round Robin

Nanjing, China

2015

DPR Korea 2 China PR 0

Semi final

Nanjing, China

Photos: AFC 

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