Early December will mark the final matches of the year for the U.S. Women’s National Team as it will take on China PR in a pair of international friendlies. The teams will open the two-game set in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on Saturday, Dec. 2 at DRV PNK Stadium (3 p.m. ET on TNT, Telemundo, Universo, Max, Peacock and FDP Radio). They will then head west to Frisco, Texas, where the USA will play its final match of 2023 on Dec. 5 at Toyota Stadium (8 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. CT on TruTV, Universo, Max and Peacock).
Get ready for the USWNT’s year-end matches with Five Things to Know about China PR.
SERIES HISTORY: USA vs. CHINA PR
The second most common opponent in U.S. Women’s National Team history, the USA and China PR have played 58 times previously. The only nation the U.S. has faced more frequently is Canada, with 64 meetings all-time between the North American foes.
This will, however, be the first meeting between the teams since June 12, 2018, when the USA defeated China PR 2-1 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio behind goals from Megan Rapinoe and Tobin Heath. The over five-year span without matches is the longest in the history of the rivalry, which dates back to 1986.
The USA leads the all-time series between the sides with a record of 36W-13D-9L, outscoring the Chinese 99-37. Over the first 29 meetings of the series, the USA had 12 wins to China PR’s eight with nine draws between the teams. In the past 29 meetings, the USA has a record of 24W-4D-1L, with the lone defeat coming on December 16, 2015, a 1-0 loss in New Orleans in the Farewell Match for legendary striker Abby Wambach.
Overall, the USA is unbeaten in its last 23 matches against opponents from the Asian Football Confederation, with 17 wins and six draws during that span.
Not only has China been one of the most frequent foes in USWNT history, it has also been the opponent – and in some cases, the host – of some of the most memorable matches in USWNT.
In 1991, the USWNT won the inaugural FIFA Women’s World Cup, which was hosted in China. The USA and China PR faced off twice in the 1995 Women’s World Cup, playing to a 3-3 draw in the group stage followed by a 2-0 win for the Americans in the Third-Place Match.
The teams met in South Florida during the 1996 Olympics, playing to a 0-0 draw in Miami during the group stage and then meeting again in Athens, Georgia for the gold medal match. The USA prevailed 2-1 behind goals from Shannon MacMillan and Tiffeny Milbrett to claim the first-ever gold medal in women’s Olympic soccer.
Three years later, the teams met in one of the most famous matches in the history of women’s international soccer in the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final, which the Americans won on penalty kicks to capture the team’s second star.
The USA and China have met seven times total in world championship events – four at the World Cup and three times at the Olympics.
INSIDE THE ROSTER
China PR heads into these games against the U.S. with a 20-player roster comprised of several players from China’s 2023 Women’s World Cup Roster as well as several up-and-coming members of its Youth National Teams.
The youthful side includes features five teenagers – six-foot goalkeeper Pan Hongyan, defenders Li Tingyingge and Wang Sigian, midfielder Wang Aifang and forward Huo Yuexin – and just one player over the age of 30 in 33-year-old defender Wang Shanshan.
On this China roster, nine players are playing their club soccer outside the country, with five competing in Europe and one in Australia. Midfielder Shen Menguy and forward Shen Menglu play in Scotland for Celtic FC, defender Li Mengwen plays in the England Women’s Super League with Brighton Hove & Albion while forward Zhang Linyan plays for Tottenham Hotspur. Forward Tang Jiali plays with Levante in Spain and fellow attacker Wu Rigumula plays in Australia for Central Coast Mariners FC.
CHINA PR WOMEN’S NATIONAL SOCCER TEAM ROSTER BY POSITION
Goalkeepers (3): 12-Xu Huan (Jiangsu F.C.), 22-Pan Hongyan (Beijing W.F.C), 32-Gao Jingyao (Changchun W.F.C)
Defenders (6): 2-Li Mengwen (Brighton & Hove Albion F.C., England), 3-Dou Jiaxing (Jiangsu F.C.), 5-Liu Yanqiu (Wuhan Jianghan University F.C.), 8-Yao Wei (Wuhan Jianghan University F.C.), 25-Wang Siqian (Shanghai W.F.C), 26-Li Tingyingge (Shanghai W.F.C)
Midfielders (3): 9-Shen Mengyu (Celtic FC, Scotland), 23-Tang Jiali (Levante Las Planas, Spain), 28-Wang Aifang (Liaoning F.C.)
Forwards (8): 7-Wang Yanwen (Beijing W.F.C), 11-Wang Shanshan (Wuhan Jianghan University F.C.), 17-Yan Jinjin (Shanghai W.F.C), 18-Shen Menglu (Celtic FC, Scotland), 19-Zhang Linyan (Tottenham Hotspur F.C., England), 20-Wu Rigumula (Central Coast Mariners FC, Australia), 24-Jin Kun (Jiangsu F.C.), 27-Huo Yuexin (Jiangsu F.C.)
Disappointment DOWN UNDER
Like the USA, China is coming off a disappointing performance at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in New Zealand and Australia, in which the Steel Roses failed to advance out of the group stage for the first time in program history.
Drawn into Group D, China fell to Denmark 1-0 to open the tournament but rebounded to beat Haiti 1-0 on a penalty kick drawn by Zhang Linyan in the second group stage match. The momentum would end there as China finished third in the group following a 6-1 defeat to eventual World Cup runners-up England in the third and final match of group play. Wang Shuang of Racing Louisville FC, who was not named to the roster for these matches, scored both goals for the Steel Roses Down Under.
PURSUIT FOR PARIS FALLS SHORT
China will miss out on the 2024 Paris Olympics after finishing third in Group B during the Second Round of the AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament, marking just the second time and first since 2012 that China has failed to qualify for the Olympics.
Despite hosting Qualifying Group B in Xiamen, China lost to North Korea 2-1 in the opening match, a back-and-forth affair that saw North Korea net the game-winning goal in the 76th minute. China bounced back to beat Thailand 3-0 in the second group match and then drew South Korea 1-1 in a match it needed to win. North Korea won the group and has advanced to the Third Round where it will face Japan in a two-game series for a spot in the 2024 Olympics. Australia and Uzbekistan will square off to determine the second and final representative from Asia.