At the FIFA World Cup opening match between Brazil and Croatia on Thursday, one Chinese fan was spotted waving his national flag with pride and vigour, sparking some disagreement amongst China’s more opinionated web users.
“The five-star flag fluttering in the wind,” mused one patriotic soul, “the sound of victory is loud and clear.” However, not everyone’s heart was quite so stirred by the sight. “Does he mean to remind the entire world that China failed to qualify?” one commentator queried. Another offered this explanation: “Just like a dog, no matter where he goes he has to piss around to mark his territory.”
Much to the chagrin of the country’s football fans, the national team has only ever qualified for the World Cup once, in 2002, but failed to score a single goal and were eliminated in the group stage. In 1985, the national team was forced into hiding after Hong Kong knocked them out of qualifiers and rioters took over the streets around Beijing’s Workers’ Stadium. With soccer fan Xi Jinping at the helm of the country, however, things may be different. Although not (yet) as famous as Jiang Zemin’s “Three Represents,” Xi has also proclaimed his “Three Wishes for Chinese Football”: “to qualify for the World Cup, to host the World Cup, and to win the World Cup.”
By Ryan Kilpatrick