USA Today reported Friday that members of China’s Women’s World Cup team will get bonuses of up to $250,000 if they defeat the U.S. in their quarterfinal match, which came as news to team captain Wu Haiyan.
“I didn’t know about that,” she said through a translator at a news conference Thursday. “But thank you [for] telling me.”
According to the report, the bonuses will be paid by the Chinese soccer association, which is trying to rebuild its once-formidable women’s program after China failed to qualify for both the 2011 World Cup and the 2012 Olympics for the first time in the nation’s history.
Earlier the association had guaranteed the team $160,000 for beating Cameroon to reach the quarterfinals, USA Today said.
Many in China see Friday’s game as a chance to avenge the country’s loss to the U.S. in the 1999 World Cup final, when the Americans won on penalty kicks at a soldout Rose Bowl.
But Haiyan, who was 6 when that game was played, said revenge would not be a factor for the players. “I’ve watched replays,” she said. “It was an exciting and historic match. And hopefully we can create history [Friday].”
Her coach, Hao Wei, agreed.
“What’s past is past,” he said. “It doesn’t make any difference. I don’t think it is vengeance or anything like that. “It is just a match.”
In the run-up to the quarterfinal game, the country’s state media said players on the World Cup team will receive the “highest ever” bonus for reaching the tournament quarterfinals, reported to be around 1 million yuan, or $160,000. That payout is still much smaller than bonuses paid to the men’s team.