China managed to thrash Laos in their World Cup qualifying opening match, but not before giving its fans reason for heart attacks as Laos went 2-0 up early on. China scored 7 unanswered goals to whip Laos eventually, but just allowing 2 goals from a nation ranked 140-something and with a handful of professionals is truly atrocious. China should advance because there’s no way Laos can score 5 unanswered goals in the return leg but knowing the boys in red, you can’t ever get your hopes too low. When China advances and plays the Japans or Koreas (both of whom were in the last World Cup), or fierce rivals, Kuwait, let’s hope they play much better.
Meanwhile, sticking with the China football theme, I came across (I came across it courtesy of Deadspin) this last week. From the title, I thought it was going to be one of those hyperbolic China articles, with a Western writer focusing on one aspect of China and being blown out of his mind. Turns out, I was wrong because the article is a good one which looks at some significant reasons for China’s recent footballing failures. The writer then turns his focus to some hopeful improvements such as the CFA looking abroad to overhaul their youth training system. Finally, the domestic league is described in much more hopeful terms as we learn how Guangdong is the hotbed of Chinese football, which I had no idea (for me, the Northeast – Dalian, Qingdao, Shenyang etc seemed to be the more probable venue for football passion). While it’s nice to see Guangzhou be the giants of the league (they are the current leaders and are undefeated), they are kind of like Manchester City or Chelsea, as they are owned by a wealthy property group, hence their name- Guangzhou Evergrande.
Finally, sticking with the China sports theme, here’s a GQ article on Stephon Marbury who has been the biggest star of the CBA since he came in 2 years ago. Things took a dive after a bright start and he had to leave smoky Taiyuan, which the article is mostly about his time there. He was picked up by Foshan and at the end of the article, he seems to be upbeat. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for rich American athletes, especially Marbury, who forced his way out of the Timberwolves seemingly out of jealousy over Kevin Garnett’s giant salary and then bounced around including an ignonimous stint for the New York Knicks. Still, the article makes him out to be a bit more human as well as a budding business mogul, if not a little delusional. Still, let’s hope he continues his success.