Watching World Cup in Shanghai

Crowds of World Cup fans assembled at the bars beneath my apartment building during the first half of South Africa v. Mexico.

This is but one bar of many, and the combined cheers reaching my window make it sound as if there’s a riot rushing through downtown Shanghai (note: there isn’t). The crowds for this year’s Cup opener are at least twice as large as four years ago, and many, many times larger than any of the Beijing 2008 Olympic crowds (including the opening ceremonies). What’s the explanation? What does it all mean? Far be it from me to speculate, but if I had to guess, I’d say: the bars are running better drinks specials.


  1. I am not surprised. Soccer is a true world sport and very popular in China. Since the world cup is only held every four years, you get a lot of anticipation. There are over 200 countries trying in the qualification competition.

  2. Chinese guys are insane for football. I don’t know why more are going to bars, but certainly everyone watched the last several times.

    It gives the Shanghainese one more reason to rag on expo. “Hell with this silly thing and the ‘limp-icks, why can’t we have the World Cup…or at least a decent footbal team?”

  3. Same effect when I was young and living in Spain: go out on the balcony after an important La Liga or World Cup goal and hear the cheers emanating from bars and apartments across the neighborhood.

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