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Very different China to host women's 2007 World Cup

Written by: Staff
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BEIJING, Mar 21 (Reuters) The China which will host the fifth women's World Cup finals next year is a very different country to that which staged the inaugural tournament in 1991, according to chief organiser Nan Yong.

China was awarded the 2007 finals after the last World Cup was switched to the United States at the last moment because of the 2003 SARS epidemic ''As everybody has seen, our country has undertaken tremendous changes for the past 15 years,'' Yong told the FIFA website after unveiling the tournament logo. ''All walks of life have largely been improved, including infrastructures and footballing facilities.

''With more modern stadiums, more convenient transportation and communication, better hotels, coupled with China's glorious traditional culture and the people's hospitality, few will question the potential of the forthcoming tournament.'' The tournament will take place in five cities across the country in September next year.

''Seventeen months is not much time for preparing for the most prestigious women's football tournament,'' Nan said. ''But we can make it with our determination and hard work.

''It may be too early to promise anything but what we are sure about is that we must be able to give 100 per cent to make the tournament the best one in history.'' Despite being a power in women's football, China have never won the World Cup, coming closest when they lost the final on penalties to their American hosts at the 1999 event.

''I hope my team make a historic breakthrough on home soil,'' said Nan.

REUTERS PDS BS1631

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