World Cup Fever
by Harry Cokebeam
Across the globe, zuqiu fans everywhere are gearing up for the fun, the excitement and possibly the getting a bit angry about dubious referee decisions of the 2006 World Cup. It's being held in Germany, where dubious referee decisions are at a premium, and we now know who's going to be there. And it's not China.
Despite slapping the Hong Kong team around like their government does to the HK administration and bringing home a 7-0 victory, the Chinese national squad didn't even make it to the Asian regional qualifiers. Widespread despair ensued, and there didn't even seem to be any way of pinning the blame on the Japanese.
Officials in the Hubei provincial government, seeing a mass productivity drop due to "worker sadness", decided to take measures in the spirit of Winston Smith, by propagating new history in the hope that everyone would just forget what had happened before. Provincial authority spokesperson Lu Aihong announced last month that the World Cup had been called off for 2006. However, the ruse was unearthed during the qualifying tournament when hundreds of citizens discovered with a casual observation of satellite TV that things were still on - a fact proven by tube-beamed images of the England side barely scraping past Austria to a 1-0 victory.
These men will not be going to Germany in 2006, except maybe if they go on holiday
The Hubei government was forced to backpedal and instead asserted that the China had chosen not to participate, rather than failed to qualify due to not being very good at football. "The Chinese Football Association has elected not to participate in the current World Cup, out of respect for the recent death of US President John F. Kennedy, whom we have learned was shot and killed in November 1963."
In the capital, a CCTV announcer - who, ironically enough, had a head and face much like a football - stated that the Chinese team's poor performance was linked to Junichiro Koizumi's refusal to rule out future visits to the Yasukuni shrine. There was some good China footballing news, though, as it was revealed that Chinese international and Everton midfielder Li Tie is almost back to full-match fitness. "Nobody has heard of me and I am not much cop," said Li Tie, presumably.
In order to better the China squad's chances next time round, coaches have stepped up the level of training. Chinese soccer players will now learn advanced techniques such as "avoiding defenders", "running and kicking" and "kicking while standing still".