Only eight of 32 teams remain in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. But despite the Chinese national team failing to qualify for the World Cup, Chinese's favorite football team is still alive and kicking.
Since it's not China, who are the Chinese cheering for?
It's Argentina, according to the Short Message Service platform of CCTV sports channel and the team support list of Sina.com.cn.
Why do Chinese fans favor Argentina? Here are four reasons.
1. The Manager: Rumors abound that Diego Maradona is coaching only because he needs money. Nevertheless Maradona, who is considered one of the best football players ever and helped Argentina win the 1986 World Cup, is back on the World Cup pitch. Many think his experiences as a player will help him manage.
2. Star Power: Maradona may be Argentina's most famous football player, but Argentina's Lionel Messi, who has drawn comparisons to Maradona, may be the best player in the world right now. Maradona recognized Messi's ability by declaring him his "successor." Messi appears a suitable heir. Despite turning only 23 years old last week, he has been named Argentina's player of the year in four of the last five.
3. Technical Style: When it comes to sports that emphasize the physical over the technical, the Chinese are typically weak. Chinese athletes excel at sports that utilize technique, such as table tennis, badminton and gymnastics. So the Chinese tend to appreciate athletes and teams with technical skills. For example, most Chinese fans prefer Kobe Bryant's precision to LeBron James' physicality. In football, Argentina's short, smooth passing is indicative of the technical style that Chinese sports fans appreciate.
4. History: The first World Cup match broadcasted in the People's Republic of China was the 1978 championship which Argentina won. Eight years later, Argentina won its second World Cup. Argentina also won two Olympic gold medals. The most recent gold medal came at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
(This post was first published in Chinese and translated by Lu Na.)