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Fifa World Cup 2018

‘The players are good looking’ – handsome German football team wins World Cup hearts and minds in China

Mainland soccer fans reveal who they will support at World Cup in Russia this summer as China Soccer Observatory kicks off video series

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 May, 2018, 3:28pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 May, 2018, 4:08pm

Argentina’s tactics and the good looks of the German players are key to why Chinese football fans support their teams at the World Cup.

They are among the reasons given in the Chinese Soccer Observatory’s newly released video, the first in a series interviewing Chinese football fans on who they support and why.

The academic look into fan culture on the mainland is called “Zuqiu Mundial” from the Mandarin name for football (“zuqiu”) and the Spanish word for world – the World Cup is known as the Copa Mundial in Spanish-speaking countries.

The first video features seven Chinese fans being interviewed on camera explaining which teams they will support and which was their first World Cup among other insights.

The series will continue over the summer in the lead up to the Fifa World Cup in Russia, through the tournament and beyond. 

Produced in conjunction with Sun Yat Sen University in Guangzhou, the University of Nottingham-based research centre interviewed several local fans for this video to understand why they support the teams that they do and how they will watch the World Cup.

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The answers ranged from the German players being handsome to Portugal’s golden generation of 2006, while others explained that the tactics and national style of play are factors in their supporting of teams.

Several of the participants also revealed that they will head to bars to watch the games.

The first World Cups of the respondents ranged from Italy in 1990 to the 2010 edition in South Africa, while teams supported ranged from Germany and Argentina through to Portugal and the Netherlands, who won’t be at Russia 2018.

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Upcoming videos in the series – produced by the research team led by Dr Yupei Zhao, Professor Simon Chadwick and Dr Jonathan Sullivan from the China Soccer Observatory, and assisted by Adam Lassner of New York University – will focus on fan consumption and attitudes. 

The series will uploaded on the Chinese Soccer Observatory Youtube site, where its creators also hope there will be discussion on their findings.