China are champions! Okay, no, it's Guangzhou Evergrande, but judging by some headlines, you'd think this country's united in its support of the new AFC Champions League winners. As if a Real Madrid fan would ever care about Barca in the UEFA Champions League. As if this country's soccer fans weren't, in actuality, cynical and parochial, likely more so than Philadelphia Eagles supporters.
Liaoning played Xinjiang in the semifinals of a U-20 tournament at the National Games of China on Sunday, and the two sides managed to score one goal each in a mostly (we're guessing) sloppy, mistake-ridden, difficult-to-watch contest. There was one redeeming moment for us to treasure though. Let's go to the tape.
Liaoning Whowin played host to Shangai Shenhua on August 1 (yes, eight days ago; sorry, this is late), which wouldn't be worth mentioning if not for a terrible, terrible tackle that might be called straight-up assault if it didn't happen on a soccer pitch. (And if people in real life, hilariously, also could not use their hands.) You can watch it above, or look at the screenshots below to get an idea of how bad it was.
You could be forgiven for thinking that, entering its third and final match in the East Asian Cup on Sunday in Jamsil Olympic Stadium in Seoul, China had already exceeded expectations. Its toughest tests came in the first two games of this four-team tournament, and it passed -- "won," one might say, in the way that soccer teams can win draws. It mustered a furious late rally to erase a 3-1 deficit against Japan last Sunday, then summoned an intense defensive effort to keep a fesity South Korean squad out of the net on Wednesday -- this from a team that gave its weary fans no reason to expect these results, having convincingly lost its three previous contests.
Belgian international Jan Vertonghen, a key piece in Tottenham's defense, suffered an ankle injury in the second half of a friendly at Hong Kong Stadium yesterday. He slipped on the watery turf and now may miss the start of the English Premier League campaign on August 18, depending on MRI results.
The Chinese soccer team pulled off another minor miracle on Wednesday night in its second match in the East Asian Cup, withstanding South Korea's relentless attacks and holding them to a scoreless draw in Hwaseong Stadium near Seoul. It was the second positive result this week -- on Sunday, China roared back from two goals down to tie Japan 3-3 in the final minutes, its first non-loss in four matches. Now, two non-losses in the last two. If these guys keep this up, movies will be made about them.
China's soccer team scored two goals in the final 10 minutes to snatch an improbable 3-3 draw against Japan in the opening game of the 2013 EAFF East Asian Cup on Sunday in Seoul.
China had lost three consecutive games, including an embarrassing 5-1 home defeat to a mostly junior Thailand team last month. Japan are Asian champions. This result was not expected.
Lionel Messi endorses WeChat, i.e. Weixin, i.e. the next Sina Weibo, as some people have called it on account of its functionality and interstellar growth. You can send texts for free (pending Internet connection), start group chats, and deliver photos and voice messages. And as Messi demonstrates in the above 30-second ad, you can communicate via video, too -- Instagram, Sina Weibo, and Vine all in one.
On Wednesday, AFP reported that Manchester United, the storied 135-year-old football club, finally joined Twitter and Sina Weibo. It has 446,714 followers on Twitter as of this moment and a modest-by-comparison 171,510 followers on Weibo, but realize this: Arsenal, which has had a Sina Weibo account for at least a year and has posted 7,238 messages compared to Man U's 46, has only 88,815 followers. Even in the realm of Chinese social media, the Red Devils reign supreme.
At least five people were injured in a stampede this afternoon at Shanghai's Tongji University as hundreds of spectators, many of them students, jostled for a closer glimpse of David Beckham.
An ambassador for Chinese football, Beckham was scheduled to take the field alongside the Tongji team and a local youth team, but the event was cancelled.
The international icon posted the following message to his Sina Weibo account at 4:39 pm:
David Beckham arrived in Beijing yesterday, kicking off his second tour of China as soccer ambassador. (His first trip, in March, saw him hilariously whiff on a free kick.) The positive publicity couldn't have come soon enough, considering the Chinese national team's humiliating 5-1 thrashing at the hands and feet of Thailand's youth team on Saturday. What was one of the first things Becks did?
Join Sina Weibo, of course. Check out his first post:
It's difficult -- it really is -- to say Chinese soccer has reached a "new" low, considering its history of match-fixing and utter, abysmal, unmitigated failure on the international stage (its only World Cup appearance coming in the year when two other Asian countries had automatic bids into the tourney). But after losing 5-1 to a mostly junior Thailand team on home turf on Saturday, more than a few fans are saying this is the bottom. "Disband the national team" has become something of a commonplace chant, as meaningless as "black whistle" when refs screw up, but the rallying cry attained something of a feverish tone of urgency on Saturday. Can it get worse? If so, it's only because we're talking about Chinese football here.
The Netherlands were in Beijing yesterday for an international friendly in Workers' Stadium. Less than 10 minutes in, Arjen Robben drew a penalty kick -- a pretty clear foul in which the defender slid into his heel -- and Robin van Persie connected for the game's first goal.
It's the second goal, however, that deserves your attention.
If you attempt to kick a ball while wearing loafers on perfectly trimmed grass, this is liable to happen — even if you’re the best 37-year-old free-kick-taker in the world. Look at that elderly Chinese man reaching out to help. Look at the dude with his foot on the ball, too cool for even bemusement.... Read more »
David Beckham, China's first ambassador for soccer, arrived in Beijing on Wednesday morning to a, well, David Beckham welcome. Fans waited for hours for him to arrive to Shijia Hutong Primary School, where he played soccer in dress shoes and a butoned up shirt. He also kicked the ball around at the FC Guo'an practice facility. The above video is him arriving at the scene.
Good news sports fans: some of the planet’s top athletes are planning preseason tours to Beijing and Shanghai. Let’s start with basketball, the most popular sport this country by some metrics*. For the first time ever, the Los Angeles Lakers are coming to China. They’re slated to play the Golden State Warriors on October 15... Read more »
The latest penalties in China soccer’s match-fixing drama have been a long time coming – several players, officials and referees were already sent to prison last year – but as announced Monday, they were still fairly significant. In summary: Shanghai Shenhua stripped of the 2003 league title Two teams docked 6 points each going into... Read more »
Manchester United recently announced sponsorship deals with two Chinese companies, Wahaha and China Construction Bank (CCB), the latter of which will produce Man U-branded credit cards. Considering China is one of the largest growth markets for any business, it’s no a surprise that the 134-year-old club is looking to strengthen its presence here. There are... Read more »
Mario Balotelli, the mercurial 22-year-old Manchester City striker, celebrated his first English Premier League goal of the season on Wednesday by getting a tattoo. (Note: tattoo may not be connected in any way with said goal.) And of course he went the half-Asian route, getting a tattoo of a (highly apocryphal but widely attributed) Genghis... Read more »
Eh. Could’ve been worse. Wasn’t exactly a bus wreck. Bayern Munich vs. Beijing Guo’an, 6-0 7′ Zhang Junzhe (own goal) 10′ Arjen Robben 43′ Claudio Pizarro 74′ Thomas Muller 78′ Mario Mandzukic 80′ Mario Gomez Youku video for those in China after the jump.