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.