China may need to find another way to the net at this year’s Women’s World Cup as head coach Shuai Qingxia revealed that goal-machine Wang Shanshan could be tapped to fill a hole at the heart of the defense .

Captain Wang, who once scored nine goals as a second-half substitute, is being lined up to replace Wang Xiaoxue, with the central defender ruled out of the tournament following a knee operation earlier this month .

Shuai, who has scored 55 goals in 146 appearances for China, said on Tuesday about the forward: “Wang Shanshan is a good choice to defend the European forwards, who are strong and quick. We will try.”

“We need a back-up for that position, so I can’t rule out the possibility that he will play as a central defender.”

China, runners-up in the 1999 World Cup, are in Group D along with England, Haiti and Denmark at this year’s tournament, which will be held in Australia and New Zealand from July 20 to August 20.

Nicknamed the Steel Roses, China have played in the World Cup finals seven times, finishing fourth in the 1995 edition and reaching the round of 16 in France in 2019.

They had also won a record ninth Asian Cup title in February last year.

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