Date
17 July 2018
Chinese football fans are the most avid supporters of the beautiful game, although their national team did not make it to the 2018 World Cup. Photo: Reuters
Chinese football fans are the most avid supporters of the beautiful game, although their national team did not make it to the 2018 World Cup. Photo: Reuters

Chinese soccer fans make presence felt at World Cup

Chinese football fans continue to avidly watch the heart-thumping matches at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, despite the notable absence of their national team in the world’s most widely followed sporting event.

In fact, there is no shortage of jokes about the Chinese team as the tournament progresses.

Chinese soccer fans, after watching host Russia trounce the Saudis 5-0, cannot help but wonder why their team was unable to beat the team from the Middle East kingdom in the qualifying matches.

Last night, they could only pray that the Chinese team would eventually pull off a miracle like Japan, who made history by becoming the first Asian team to beat a South American side, winning against Colombia, 2-1.

That led to the old joke that the Chinese team holds the record of not having lost twice to any other team on the planet.

That’s because China, during their first and only World Cup appearance, lost to Brazil, Turkey and Costa Rica in 2002.

It’s also funny how Chinese football fans measured their team against Iceland, which has a population of only 300,000, making it smaller than a district of a third-tier city in China, yet managed to hold mighty Argentina, the first runner-up in the 2014 World Cup, to a 1-1 draw.

Well, in football, the status of the national team appears to have no relation to the size of the population or wealth of the nation.

Indeed, the World Cup offers a lot of lessons for the Chinese, and all football fans, for that matter – not only inside, but also outside, the pitch.

A British newspaper heaped praises on Japanese football fans for tidying up the ground and putting rubbish in bins, just as they had done in Brazil four years ago, to celebrate their first World Cup win in Russia last night.

Judging from stories about the behavior of some Chinese tourists overseas, keeping public areas clean is not a well-known habit of Chinese soccer fans.

But they are unrivaled fans of the beautiful game, for sure, considering that they snapped up some 40,000 tickets to the World Cup matches, not counting those who happened to buy 3,500 fake ones from a swindler of a Russian firm.

Indeed, there are a lot of lessons to be learned from the World Cup.

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CG

The World Cup offers lessons to football fans – not only inside, but also outside, the pitch. Photo: Reuters


EJ Insight writer

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