Sports thread: Everything sport related here.


B.I.B.

Senior Member
I came across this article about the Belgium - Japan match as watched in Beijing.

Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

Warming ties? Chinese fans cheered for Japan at World Cup
State media praise Samurai Blue despite last-16 exit

OKI NAGAI, Nikkei staff writer July 10, 2018 06:14 JST
Japan's Takashi Inui celebrates scoring the team's second goal in a game against Belgium on July 2. © Reuters
BEIJING -- About 30 soccer fans gathered around a big-screen television at a sports bar here during the wee hours of July 3 to watch the World Cup round of 16 game between Japan and Belgium.

A shot in the second minute by Japanese midfielder Shinji Kagawa drew disappointed sighs as it bounced wide of the goal, followed by cries of alarm when Belgium went on the attack.

Caught up in the excitement, this reporter briefly forgot being in Beijing, rather than Tokyo, and that most of the people here at 2 a.m. were Chinese. Any doubts that the spectators came to support the Samurai Blue were dispelled with the cheers that greeted each Japanese pass.


After the scoreless first half, a group of six customers in their 20s acknowledged they were rooting for Japan.

"That's right," one replied with a grin. "They're the only Asian team that made it to the knockout stage. They're a shining beacon of Asia."

Another man said he had bet on Japan -- as an expression of Asian soccer friendship, not because of the odds, he clarified. A woman sitting nearby, apparently his girlfriend, said she supported the Japanese team as well.




Chinese soccer fans at a Beijing sports bar cheer on Japan during its World Cup knockout match against Belgium. (Photo by Oki Nagai)

This bar sits in Beijing's popular Sanlitun district with many bars and stores that attract young people interested in foreign cultures. The customers here are the sort who can afford to drop 50 yuan ($7.56) on a draft beer -- a small share of this country's 1.4 billion people.

Yet even the ruling Chinese Communist Party showered Japan's national soccer team with praise. Japan may have lost, but the players can return home with their heads held high, the official People's Daily newspaper wrote in its Wednesday edition, lauding the teamwork, technique and mental fortitude that let them go toe-to-toe with Belgium.

State-run China Central Television praised manager Akira Nishino's ability to get the most out of his players. It talked about the "Miracle of Miami," when Nishino coached the Japanese team to victory over Brazil in the 1996 Olympics.

Nishino had taken flak from many in the media over Japan's last group-stage game, against Poland, in which the players simply passed the ball around in the final minutes despite being down a goal in order to squeak through to the knockout stage on the team's superior disciplinary record. But even then, the People's Daily said Japan had kept Asia's hopes alive.

President Xi Jinping, a fan of the sport, has poured resources into
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
. Yet the country failed to qualify for the World Cup in 2014 and 2018.

China's desire to assemble a team strong enough to reach the World Cup seems to spur this support for a fellow Asian squad. Warmer ties with Japan also may have eased the way for Chinese fans to cheer on their neighbor, while state media might be encouraging the trend to improve public sentiment.

But Japanese fans show little interest in China's sporting achievements. In table tennis, Japan sees its dominant neighbor more as an obstacle blocking its own players. Chinese runner Su Bingtian has garnered little attention for his achievements in the men's 100-meter dash -- where Asian countries are usually weak -- despite recently breaking the 10-second mark in two consecutive competitions.

What it would take for Japan to reciprocate China's support for the Samurai Blue remains unclear.
Earlier on (i cant find the thread) someone posted a SCMP article on the state of Chinese soccer.In short tthe article quoted highly paid European coaches as saying china won't be good enough to compete at the world Cup level for a long time because the players lack the will, skill and team spirit. They essentially attribute this to China's one child policy....... ....(We have all read about the perceived negatives on this, so there is no need to elaborate )
 
I made a comment on a Yahoo article about how the Warriors are ruining the NBA because of Demarcus Cousins deciding to become a Warrior. I find it ironic that sports fans can be the most conservative lot in their politics yet when it comes to sports, they want parity aka communism. Don't blame the Warriors for following the rules. Don't blame the Warriors because the owner of your favorite team just owns it for prestige and making money and not spend because he or she would make less money if they did that. I basically said that and got a whole lot of likes up there in the most liked comments. Yahoo wiped out my likes. What's the matter? Don't like being called a communist? If it walks like a duck... I know... it's these dummies who don't even know what the communism they hate means. If they think there should be parity in sports, that's communism. Yeah one owner who doesn't want to spend the money but wants a shot at the title is going to push everyone else down and not bring their team up in order to get that chance. All the things people who supposedly hate about communism are all of the sudden okay with when they're at the bottom. Yes they don't call it communism and that's the only difference to them.
Well, there is a difference between communism and anti-monopoly. What the Warriors are doing is to build a monopoly, which does hurt business. Having a team that wins every single year would obviously make the games boring and no one wants to watch anymore.

That’s why the lottery system was set up, to give bad teams a chance to get better. Just look at the olympics men’s basketball games. Who watches them? Practically no one since everyone knows the American super dream team will win. No suspension, no viewers. That was also why women’s softball at the olympics was taken out because the Americans won every single time. They ultimately decided to take it out of the olympics because of lack of competition.

At the end of the day, it is still a business. And it’s gotta find the most efficient way to make the most money. And in this case, having as many competitive teams as possible makes the game interesting and sells tickets and commercials.

In this sense, this is not communism at all. It’s simply about making as much cash as humanly possible.

It comes communism if someone decides to force the star players to make the same amount of money as the benchwarmers. That’s not what is happening.
It's a matter of degrees but conceptually those behaviors are the same. Club owners are still behaving like "communists" within their own circle even if their drive is to behave like a cartel towards others. It's the same thing if players formed a union in order to drive up total pay for all players, benchwarmers could make more but not necessarily the same as star players. Players would be behaving like "communists" within their own circle while their drive is to behave like a cartel towards others, same as the club owners.
 

B.I.B.

Senior Member
England loose to Croatia. England played well in the first half and Croatia the second.

I have often thought that because Australia was permitted to leave the much harder South Pacific nation pathway and enter the Asian zone, why can't China compete in the zone for cCentral Asia then let Hong Kong, stacked with Chinese mainlanders compete in the Asian zone.
 

Equation

Lieutenant General
England loose to Croatia. England played well in the first half and Croatia the second.

I have often thought that because Australia was permitted to leave the much harder South Pacific nation pathway and enter the Asian zone, why can't China compete in the zone for cCentral Asia then let Hong Kong, stacked with Chinese mainlanders compete in the Asian zone.
Croatia is the dark horse of the tournament! They have been consistently playing good defense as well. I won't be surprise if they beat France to win the whole thing.
 

SteelBird

Major
Croatia is the dark horse of the tournament! They have been consistently playing good defense as well. I won't be surprise if they beat France to win the whole thing.
My early prediction is that France will finally win the champion because France has played low profile but it passes barriers one after another. Croatia has no history of winning World Cup championship. Let's see!
 

Shaolian

Junior Member
Registered Member
I have often thought that because Australia was permitted to leave the much harder South Pacific nation pathway and enter the Asian zone, why can't China compete in the zone for cCentral Asia then let Hong Kong, stacked with Chinese mainlanders compete in the Asian zone.
What "Central Asia", or the "much harder South Pacific"?

First, FIFA qualifying are divided into 6 zones:

1. Asia (containing the Middle East, Central, South, East, Southeast Asia & Australia)
2. Africa
3. North & Central America, & Caribbean islands
4. South America
5. Oceania (Pacific islands sans Australia)
6. Europe

All of these zones were guaranteed spots into the World Cup, some more than others, with the exception of one zone, that being Oceania. Oceania is considered the weakest zones of them all. Winning the Oceania qualifying rounds does not guarantee entry into the World Cup. The "hard" part is because the top team of the Oceania qualifiers (New Zealand, in this edition), had to play a 2-legged play-off tie with the 5th placed team from South America (Peru), a much stronger footballing continent.

It wasn't always the case to have a play-off against a South American team, it used to face off against teams from Europe as well. Needless to say, when Australia was still under Oceania, they almost always were its champions, but would come up short when faced with either a South American or European team.

Then, starting with the 2006 World Cup, Australia petitioned to join the Asian Football Confederation, with the idea that it would be easier to qualify for the World Cup being the top 4 Asian teams, than to keep playing much stronger Latin American or European teams. It's considered a win-win for the Asian Confederation as well, as Australia's entry is seen as a boost to Asian football development.

As for China:

East Asia & Central Asia are still under the Asian zone, they are not separate. Only the top 4 teams (plus a fifth, but that's a play-off against a North/Central American team) from Asia can qualify. Doesn't matter if one is from East Asia, or Central Asia, they still share that same 4+1 spots.

The only "realistic" switch that China could make is to the Oceania group, and that's REALLY stretching it. But even if they are allowed into Oceania, they would then still have to play against a South American team in the end. Same result.
 
Last edited:

B.I.B.

Senior Member
Whoops, I confused myself.In reference to Asian football I have often heard two federations talked about. There's the Asian Football Confederation and then there is the Central Asian Confederation.
Well if you think China playing in the Oceania grouping is a bit of a stretch it's not impossible when one considers Xinjiangas part of central Asiand Kazakhstan leaving the Asian grouping and playing in the European grouping where I think it played against Poland Belgium?
Anyway with the competing teamsincreased to 48 teams in 2022/26?and with Asia alloted 8.5 compared to the current 4.5 slots, China's chances of qualifying have been improved.
 
Last edited:

B.I.B.

Senior Member
My early prediction is that France will finally win the champion because France has played low profile but it passes barriers one after another. Croatia has no history of winning World Cup championship. Let's see!
I'm not surprised England lost. Newspapers were referring to England's effort as a 'fairy tale performances'. But as we all know all fairy tales must come to a end.
 

Shaolian

Junior Member
Registered Member
Whoops, I confused myself.In reference to Asian football I have often heard two federations talked about. There's the Asian Football Confederation and then there is the Central Asian Confederation.
Well if you think China playing in the Oceania grouping is a bit of a stretch it's not impossible when one considers Xinjiangas part of central Asiand Kazakhstan leaving the Asian grouping and playing in the European grouping where I think it played against Poland Belgium?
Anyway with the competing teamsincreased to 48 teams in 2022/26?and with Asia alloted 8.5 compared to the current 4.5 slots, China's chances of qualifying have been improved.
Yeah, the Asian zone is so huge and geographically diverse, that it in turn has many sub-regional "federation/confederations" as well. And the gulf in quality between them are quite significant too. The strongest sub-regions would be Eastern and Western (Middle East). Australia and some Central Asian teams are quite strong as well. But this is only in relation among Asian teams. On the global stage, Asian football standards are really quite some ways below their Latin American and European counterparts.

Many sub regions hold their own regional championships, like the Southeast Asian Cup, the East Asian, South Asian, and maybe others too.

At the onset of the dissolution of the USSR, all the Central former republics first joined the AFC (Asia). But I think teams like Kazakhstan realised later that their footballing future would be better served under UEFA (Eurpoe), where they could enter the prestigious UEFA Champions' League for club football. But qualifying from Europe to the World Cup is magnitudes harder compared to from Asia. As a titbit, Israel was part of AFC too. They were in fact the winners of the first Asian Cup.

Yeah, the World Cup would be expanded to 48 teams after the next edition. Haha, I didn't know that Asia would be getting this many places! In this case, China SHOULD really ought to qualify, otherwise it would be rather hilarious. I don't think Asia should be getting this many spots though, as their standards aren't that competitive.

But I think China can be patient with their national team. Football is a highly competitive and advanced sport, where the whole world had been pumping billions and playing and advancing the skills and tactics for more than a century. China has many more stressing issues to address now. When China's society has progressed to a certain prosperity, then they will find forms of sporting entertainment for themselves. This could be football, or some other sport. They will find their own sporting excellence.
 

Equation

Lieutenant General
I'm not surprised England lost. Newspapers were referring to England's effort as a 'fairy tale performances'. But as we all know all fairy tales must come to a end.
Either way, the English team played better than expected even without star player such as Wayne Rooney not in the squad this year.
 

Top