Chinese roses blossom

Soccernews091307.jpg

Soccer News
September 13, 2007

Soccer News is a football-focused sports newspaper that publishes two issues per week, nationwide. It belongs to the Guangzhou Daily Newspaper Group.

Today’s headline refers to a victory by China’s women’s football team at the China-hosted Women’s World Cup 2007. In their first appearance, China beat Denmark 3:2. Song Xiaoli scored the winning goal with less than two minutes left in regulation, a feat described by the paper’s headline as “The Red Minute.”.

The front page photo shows Song celebrating the victory with match MVP Ma Xiaoxu. The photo appears in a side-mirror of a Hyundai automobile; Beijing Hyundai was the game’s sponsor.

The headline beneath front page photo is about the latest qualifying match results of the European Cup 2008. Michael Owen’s two goals and an assist against Russia helped England move to second place in Group D, putting them in line to advance. So the headline reads: “Super Owen Reappears,” and is accompanied by his picture.

The small headline on the right repeats some rumors about a new coach for China’s national team – Vladimir Petrovic Pizon reportedly will sign a contract with the China Football Association late this afternoon.

Update: A Danwei reader has informed us that Danish media is alleging that the Chinese team relied on dirty tricks to win. More info:

Try to search for 丹麦 danmai on the Chinese Google News, and you’ll see what I mean. There’s some really juicy articles about the angry foreigners being sore losers (link, link). A good read. One theme is how the Danish coach didn’t want to shake hands with his Chinese colleague.

The news in the Danish media is a bit different, though. There’s talk about espionage, sabotage and harassment.

For instance: The Danish team asked the hotel, where they are staying, to give them a room, where they could discuss their tactics. There was a giant mirror in the room, and out of curiosity the Danes had the door to the adjacent room opened. Turns out there were to Chinese sitting behind the mirror, and recording the meeting with camcorders.

The Danes feel that they have been harassed during their whole stay.

It took the Chinese five days before they mowed the soccerfield where the Danes were supposed to train.

On the day of the match, the lights on the field went out after 30 minutes, and they had been promised 45 minutes. Furthermore, also during the final training for the match, two brass bands (!) chose to practice rather loudly next to the soccer playing Danes. Plus, all of a sudden the fields sprinklers started. And to top it off, all of their training was filmed by a man sitting in a nearby house with a camcorder.

Furthermore, the referee should have been an absolute catastrophe. I have no way to judge this, since I know nothing about soccer. But it makes me think about the many bribery scandals in Chinese sports.

So, why is this interesting (beside seeing the Chinese and Danish media screaming different versions of the story at each other)?

Well, there’s some sort of sporting event taking place in Beijing next summer, and if we assume there’s some truth in what the Danes are saying….How many microphones and cameras are hidden in the walls of the Olympic buildings? And what about the Party and all of their talk about fairplay, fight against doping, cleaning up the ranks, etc?

This was sent in by the proprietor of KINABLOG.dk, where the issue is dissected in Danish. That post contains a link to a news story whose headline reads that the Danish team might sue over the hidden cameras.

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