China Focus: Soccer fans tune in to World Cup
2014-June-13 Source: China View website
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Chinese soccer fans are preparing to spend many sleepless nights from Thursday to watch the World Cup, half a world away.

To watch this year's World Cup live is challenging yet exciting. Most of the games are to be held after midnight Beijing time.

"Are you going to sleep at all tonight?" has been a popular way of greeting on Thursday, as it will be 4 a.m. Friday, Beijing time, when Brazil's national team hosts Croatia in the opening match.

"I'll go to bed at 10 p.m. and get up at 4 a.m., though I'm not sure if I can really fall asleep that early," said Beijing soccer fan Zeng Tao, 45.

Zeng, sales manager at a foreign-invested IT company, often stays up until midnight watching movies online or chatting with friends and customers. "Still, my timetable has to change drastically for me to enjoy the games: I will either sleep early, or do not sleep at all."

UC, a leading mobile Internet browser maker in Guangzhou, has allowed each employee 3 days off during the World Cup. In a notice on the company's bulletin board, UC says soccer fans can apply for a day off if they feel too tired after watching the World Cup until dawn. Games will be played live on a big screen in the company cafeteria every night throughout the tournament. Beer, soft drinks and snacks will be provided for fans.

The document, a photo of which was posted at, a popular Twitter-like microblogging site, received much applause.

"The boss must be a soccer fan. By the way, are there vacancies? Can I send a resume?" said a web user.


For weeks, postings have spread widely on the web and via mobile phones of "dos and don'ts" for the World Cup.

Some demand men to be home by 4 a.m. if they insist on watching the Cup with friends, but the majority of them said in half-demanding, half-joking tones that women -- who in most urban families have a larger say in domestic issues -- should leave their husbands alone.

"Everything belongs to you: the house, the bed, the child, the dog and all the housework. But the TV is mine and football is its only program. If you want to watch TV, do wait until morning."

"Do study some football basics if you still want to talk to me. Otherwise, stay away from the TV. If you really have to pass the screen in the middle of a match, do crawl on the floor instead of blocking my view."

"Do make sure to have enough food and beer for me and my friends in the fridge."

"Don't tell me I've seen that goal -- I need to relive those exciting moments again and again."

Despite the misogynist tone, the posting has been well received by women either eager to share the excitement or sympathetic to their husbands.

Online forums keep updating the posting with basics of the Cup and all participating teams, to keep the football widows from feeling bitter.

Even police in Shenyang, capital of northeast China's Liaoning Province, have given tips to fans at "Don't fight. Don't make too much noise. Don't gamble. Don't drive when drunk. Don't neglect your wife."


The Chinese have a dream that their national team will one day be among the world's best. President Xi Jinping's enthusiasm for the sport has given a major boost to soccer fans' confidence and the expectations of Chinese players.

The World Cup was televised in China for the first time in 1978, when the country began to reform and open up to the outside world.

"I remember watching the final between Netherlands and Argentina on a small black and white TV screen at my neighbor's home," said Zhang Feng, a retired worker in Xi'an. "I was shocked that the players could be so crazy over a ball."

When China made its World Cup debut in 2002, Cao Yi, then a Beijing high school student, stealthily listened to the games on the radio, through earphones. He sat straight in his classroom, pretending he was listening attentively to the teacher.

"At one point, I was so nervous that I cried out," he recalled. "My classmates giggled. Even the teacher, after writing a formula on the chalkboard, turned to ask, 'what's the score?'"

Despite the bad results of the Chinese team, Cao said the 2002 World Cup was the most memorable soccer event so far. "I hope China will one day return to the World Cup and prove to be a much stronger team. I trust China has such strength."


Editor: 王凯
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