Chinese football fans use women's Asian Cup triumph to mock men's team

PHOTO: Twitter/CSV2050

Chinas’s women’s national football team completed an incredible second-half comeback from 2-0 down against South Korea to claim a record-extending ninth AFC Asian Cup on Sunday (Feb 6).

And the dramatic victory provided some cheer for the nation’s beleaguered football fans, who watched the men’s side limp out of the running for qualification to the Fifa 2022 World Cup on Lunar New Year’s Day.

The topic quickly trended with millions of searches on China’s Twitter-like social media platform Weibo after the game.

Netizens celebrated the women’s team’s triumph – and didn’t miss another opportunity to take a few more digs at Li Xiaopeng’s misfiring men’s team after their humiliating 3-1 defeat by Thailand.

Weibo was also abuzz with the news that Shui Qingxia’s “Steel Roses” will pocket a 10 million yuan (S$2 million) cash prize from team sponsor Mengniu, the Chinese dairy company, while Alipay also promised the players a bonus.

“Congratulations to the Chinese women’s football team for winning the championship,” one Weibo user wrote. “At this festive moment, I would like to say something: please expel the men’s football junk from Chinese football, thank you!”

Another user likened the men’s team to a “son who has taken up all his wealth but achieved nothing”, and the women’s team a “daughter who has been wronged but is very hopeful”.

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One netizen praised the women’s national team’s ability to “survive in a desperate situation”, their “energy of never giving up” and their “calm and determined spirit”.

“Chinese men’s football, can you be a little girl?” they added.

“They laughed at the Chinese men’s football team five days ago, but today the Chinese women’s football team used a reversal to earn back the dignity of Chinese football!” the ‘Football giants’ Weibo account posted.

Other fans hoped the AFC Asian Cup triumph might spark more interest in the women’s game – and earn the players more money.

“Is there a way to make the women’s football team get more money?” a user said.

“Maybe they will hold more club games for women’s football in the future, and then everyone will buy tickets to see their bonuses and worth. After all, how much they get is determined by the market.”

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.