For Lu Yiliang, there could no more fitting place in which to lead China PR to gold at the Girls’ Youth Olympic Football Tournament 2014 than the familiar surrounds of Nanjing’s Wutaishan stadium. Once the stamping ground where the 43-year-old spent ten years of his playing career as a midfield mainstay with Jiangsu Sainty, the China PR coach will now also remember it as the place where he led his country to their first FIFA crown.
Under Lu’s leadership, the Chinese U-15 girls swept all before them at the Youth Olympics, following up back-to-back victories in the group round with a semi-final shoot-out success over Slovakia. In the much-anticipated decider against Venezuela,FIFA Coins, the young Steel Roses stunned the gold-medal favourites 5-0 to claim the gold medal with a 100 per cent winning record.
"Our two years of hard training weren’t in vain after all," said the Chinese supremo in an interview with FIFA.com after the awards ceremony, his normally even voice betraying more than a hint of emotion, "and the players’ efforts have also paid off. This is a gratifying result. "