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Roundup: China lose to Netherlands, Canada edge past Denmark at Algarve Cup

Xinhua, March 2, 2017 Adjust font size:

China women's soccer team opened their 21st Algarve Cup campaign with a 1-0 loss to the Netherlands, while defending champions Canada took on a late goal to get past Denmark on the same scoreline on the opening day of 2017 Algarve Cup here on Wednesday.

Renate Jansen had the only goal of the match for the Netherlands 12 minutes into the game, also seeing her team's another three shots either on the bar or on the post.

"We played quite bad in the first 25 minutes," admitted Bruno Bini, the Chinese team's head coach.

The 13th-ranked China were seen as underdogs in Group C after the Steel Roses recorded their worst Cup result last year, finishing bottom of the 12 teams. In this year's group stage, they will face the Netherlands, Sweden and Australia, three opponents all higher than them on FIFA world rankings.

Two minutes after Jansen's goal, China wasted a golden chance to tie the game, as Zhang Rui's shot was blocked by goalie Angela Christ, and the latter made a swift save in front of the goal line.

China had some chances in the second half with substitute Wang Shanshan and Wang Shuang as the striking duo, but failed to convert them into a goal, only to see their opponents' one shot hit on the bar, another on the post.

"We did better in the second half, but it was a pity that we did a poor job in putting the ball into goal," said Bruno.

Although the Chinese side failed to shine on Wednesday, they have been impressive striving to climb back to the world top.

Two years after their clash at the World Cup in Canada, the Netherlands' head coach Sarina Wiegman still remembered Wang Shanshan well.

"I don't know her name exactly, the No. 11. She also played against us at World Cup. She's a very good player," Wiegman referred to Wang, who came off the bench after the break.

China will face world No. 8 Sweden, who downed Australia 1-0 with Lotta Schelin's 60th-minute goal, in Santo Antonio on Friday.

Due to absence of title favorites such as United States and Germany in 2016, Canada became the sixth champions ever in event history after upsetting Brazil 2-1 in the final.

Facing Denmark in their opener, Sinclair became the hero for Canada with her lone goal in the 90th minute, earning the reigning champions a good start in the 2017 edition.

The other Group A matchup was also decided with several minutes remaining, as Russia defeated hosts Portugal 1-0 with Olesya Mashina's goal in the 86th minute.

Spain sat atop Group B after shocking 2011 world champion Japan 2-1. Three-time tournament winner Norway were held 1-1 by Iceland. Endit