The Asian Games officially kick off with the opening ceremonies in Guangzhou tonight, but the football (soccer) action got off to an early start with preliminaries over the past week—and for hosts China, it’s been a rough start, with poor performance and a star player insulting fans on the Internet.
China lost its first game to Japan by a score of 3-0 (do I even need to explain how serious that rivalry is?), and then, against Krygyzstan, missed a few great scoring opportunities and needed two late goals to win 2-1. Now China needs at least a draw in its third preliminary game in order to make it to the knockout round. They play Malaysia Saturday at 7:00 p.m. Beijing time at Tianhe Stadium in Guangzhou.
The football team also had a little off-field drama this week when goalkeeper Wang Dalei lashed out at fans on a microblogging site, and was suspended and compelled to issue a public apology. “It would be flattery to call you fans,” Wang wrote “You’re just a bunch of dogs. I never hold back what I want to say. It’s because of you bunch of SB [Chinese curse word] that Chinese football can’t make any progress.”
Days later, Wang apologized and begged for “another chance”: “I apologize sincerely to the media and supporters of the whole nation for my unpleasant words, which damaged the image of the football team, sports and China. “It’s my fault. I hope you can forgive me and give me another chance.” said Wang (watch his statement on Titan24.com.
Cai Jiadong, secretary-general of China’s Asian Games delegation, brought out a favorite Chinese expression for the occasion, saying Wang had been “unsportsmanlike and irrational and hurt the feelings of Chinese soccer fans.”
China women’s team opens play Saturday against Jordan, 7:00 p.m. at University Town Main Stadium, with higher hopes than the men.
Wang Dalei image: CNR.cn
Tags: Asian Games, football, soccer, Tianhe Stadium, Wang Dalei